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

From depression to dementia, many other health problems are linked to the health of your hearing. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.

1. Diabetes Affects Your Hearing

A widely-cited study that observed more than 5,000 adults found that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were twice as likely to endure mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing loss was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also found that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those who have 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 people with normal blood sugar levels. A more recent meta-study discovered that the link between hearing loss and diabetes was consistent, even when controlling for other variables.

So a greater danger of hearing impairment is firmly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of suffering from hearing impairment? When it comes to this, science doesn’t really have the answers. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. It’s possible that diabetes has a similar damaging impact on the blood vessels of the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall 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 think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. Your Ears Can be Damaged by High Blood Pressure

Numerous studies have shown 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. The results are consistent even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. The only variable that seems to make a difference is gender: Men with high blood pressure are at a greater risk of hearing loss.

Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right near it. People with high blood pressure, in many cases, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the cause of their tinnitus. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The foremost theory why high blood pressure would accelerate hearing loss is that high blood pressure can lead to physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind every beat. The smaller blood vessels inside of your ears can be injured by this. Both medical intervention and lifestyle changes can be used to help manage high blood pressure. But you need to make an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are developing any amount of hearing loss.

3. Hearing Impairment And Dementia

Hearing loss may put you at a higher risk of dementia. Research from Johns Hopkins University that followed nearly 2,000 people over the course of six years found that the risk of cognitive deterioration increased by 24% with just mild hearing impairment (about 25 dB). Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, revealed 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 results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the chance of someone without hearing loss. Extreme hearing loss puts you at almost 4x the risk.

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

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