Health Issues Linked to Hearing Loss

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

Your hearing health is connected to many other health conditions, from depression to dementia. Your hearing is linked to your health in the following ways.

1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes

A widely-cited study that looked at over 5,000 adults revealed that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, put simply, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30 percent more likely to have hearing impairment than those with regular blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the link between diabetes and hearing loss was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.

So it’s pretty established that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing impairment. But the real question is why is there a link. When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have an explanation. A whole variety of health problems have been linked to diabetes, including damage to the limbs, kidneys, and eyes. It’s feasible that diabetes has a similar harmful affect on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it may also be related to general health management. People who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study conducted on military veterans. If you are worried that you might be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked.

2. High Blood Pressure Can Damage Your Ears

Numerous studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. The results are consistent even when taking into consideration variables like noise exposure and whether you smoke. The only variable that appears to make a difference is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.

The circulatory system and the ears have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s primary arteries run right by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in 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. Because you can hear your own pulse with this kind of tinnitus, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical harm to your ears. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be damaged by this. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you should schedule an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are experiencing any degree of hearing impairment.

3. Hearing Loss And Dementia

You may have a greater chance of dementia if you have hearing loss. Almost 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the research revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia rises by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also discovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Severe hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.

It’s crucial, then, to get your hearing examined. Your health depends on it.


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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.