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 linked to your hearing health. Your hearing is related to your health in the following ways.

1. your Hearing is Affected by Diabetes

A widely-cited study that looked at more than 5,000 adults revealed that individuals 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. Impairment was also more likely with high-frequency sounds, but less severe. 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 loss than those with normal 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 a greater danger of hearing loss is solidly linked to diabetes. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. A whole range of health issues have been connected to diabetes, including damage to the extremities, kidneys, and eyes. One theory is that the condition could impact the ears in an equivalent way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But management of overall health could also be a relevant possibility. People who failed to treat or control their diabetes had worse outcomes according to one study conducted on military veterans. It’s important to have a doctor test your blood sugar if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are pre-diabetic.

2. High Blood Pressure Can Harm Your Ears

Multiple studies have demonstrated that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. Even when adjusting for variables such as whether you smoke or your amount of noise exposure, the results are consistent. The only variable that appears to matter is gender: Males with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of hearing loss.

Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it: Two of your body’s primary arteries go directly past your ears in addition to the presence of tiny blood vessels inside your ears. People with high blood pressure, often, can hear their own blood pumping and this is the source of their tinnitus. That’s why this kind 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 result in physical harm to your ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more power behind every beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside your ears. Both medical treatment and lifestyle changes can be used to help regulate high blood pressure. But you should make an appointment for a hearing examination if you think you are experiencing any amount of hearing impairment.

3. Hearing Loss And Dementia

Hearing loss may put you at a greater chance of dementia. Nearly 2000 individuals 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 risk of dementia rises by 24%. And the worse the degree of hearing impairment, the higher the risk of dementia, according to another study carried out over 10 years by the same researchers. They also uncovered a similar link to Alzheimer’s Disease. Based on these results, moderate hearing loss puts you at 3X the risk of someone without hearing loss. The danger goes up to 4 times with extreme hearing loss.

The truth is, if you’re suffering from hearing loss, you need to get it evaluated and treated. 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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