Health Problems Associated With Hearing Loss

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

From depression to dementia, numerous other health conditions are connected to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.

1. Diabetes Impacts Your Hearing

A widely-cited study that examined over 5,000 adults determined that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to experience mild or worse hearing impairment when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. Hearing loss was also more likely with high-frequency tones, but less severe. This same research reported that individuals who had slightly elevated blood sugar levels (pre-diabetic) were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study revealed a consistent connection between hearing loss and diabetes.

So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased risk of hearing impairment. But why would diabetes put you at an increased danger of suffering from hearing loss? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health problems, and particularly, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One theory is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to general health management. Individuals who failed to treat or manage their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study performed on military veterans. If you are concerned that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to consult with a doctor and get your blood sugar checked.

2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure

It is well known that high blood pressure plays a part in, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when taking into consideration variables like whether you smoke or your level of noise exposure, the results are solid. Gender seems to be the only variable that makes a difference: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even greater.

The ears and the circulatory system have a direct relationship: Two of your body’s main arteries run directly by your ears besides the presence of tiny blood vessels in your ears. Individuals with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. Because you can hear your own pulse with this type of tinnitus, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force with each beat. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. High blood pressure is manageable using both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for age-related hearing loss, you should make an appointment to see us.

3. Dementia And Hearing Impairment

Hearing loss might put you at a higher chance of dementia. Nearly 2000 people were studied over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with minor hearing loss (about 25 dB), the danger of dementia increases by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than a decade, found that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. They also uncovered a similar connection to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these findings, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of somebody without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at nearly 4x the risk.

It’s essential, then, to have your hearing examined. It’s about your state of health.


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.

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