Health Issues Linked to Hearing Loss

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

From depression to dementia, many other health conditions are connected to your hearing health. 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 evaluated more than 5,000 adults revealed that individuals who had been diagnosed with diabetes were two times as likely to suffer mild or worse hearing loss when tested with low- or mid-frequency sounds. With high-frequency sounds, hearing impairment was not as severe but was also more likely. The researchers also discovered that subjects who were pre-diabetic, in other words, those with blood sugar levels that are elevated but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes were 30% more likely to have hearing impairment than people with regular blood sugar levels. And even when controlling for other variables, a more recent meta-study found a consistent connection between diabetes and hearing loss.

So an increased danger of hearing loss is solidly linked to diabetes. But the significant question is why is there a connection. Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and in particular, can cause 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 management of overall health might also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to deal with or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study carried out on military veterans. If you are concerned that you may be pre-diabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk to a doctor and have your blood sugar tested.

2. Your Ears Can be Harmed by High Blood Pressure

It is well established that high blood pressure has a connection to, if not accelerates, hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables like whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.

The ears and the circulatory system have a close relationship: Besides the numerous tiny blood vessels in your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially lead to physical damage to your ears, that’s the main hypothesis behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. There’s more force with every heartbeat if the heart is pumping harder. That could potentially injure the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But if you think you’re suffering from 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 may put you at a greater chance of dementia. Almost 2000 individuals were analyzed over a six year period by Johns Hopkins University, and the study revealed that even with mild hearing loss (about 25 dB), the risk of dementia increases by 24%. Another study by the same researchers, which followed subjects over more than 10 years, discovered that the worse a subject’s hearing was, the more likely that he or she would develop dementia. This research also demonstrated that Alzheimer’s had an equivalent link to hearing loss. Moderate hearing loss puts you at 3 times higher risk, according to these findings, than somebody with functional hearing. The danger increases to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.

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


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.