Texas Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists, LLP - Bedford, Grapevine and Southlake, TX

Woman rubbing her leg after a fall because she couldn’t hear.

From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are connected to the health of your hearing. Here are just a few of the ways your hearing is connected to your health.

1. your Hearing is Impacted by Diabetes

A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults determined that people who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. This same research revealed that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing loss. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study discovered a consistent link between hearing loss and diabetes.

So a greater danger of hearing loss is firmly connected to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and particularly, can lead to physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and limbs. One hypothesis is that the disease may impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be associated with general health management. Individuals who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse consequences according to one study performed on military veterans. It’s essential to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears

Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. Gender appears to be the only variable that matters: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.

Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re in close relation to it: Two of your body’s main arteries go right past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is really their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. The smaller blood vessels in your ears can be damaged by this. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re suffering from hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for age-related hearing loss, you should schedule an appointment to see us.

3. Hearing Loss And Dementia

Hearing loss might put you at a higher risk of dementia. Studies from Johns Hopkins University that followed almost 2,000 people over the course of six years found that the risk of cognitive impairment increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). And the worse the level of hearing loss, the higher the danger of dementia, according to another study conducted over a decade by the same researchers. They also discovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of somebody without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.

The bottom line is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. It’s about your state of health.

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References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072
https://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/741394/diabetes-hearing-impairment-united-states-audiometric-evidence-from-national-health
https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/hearing-loss-common-people-diabetes
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23150692
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4632848/
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1108740
https://www.helpingmehear.com/hearing-aids-facts/
https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2018/8541638/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3889339/
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1808869415310016
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1558452
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/fullarticle/802291

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.