While hearing loss is most commonly related to age or the level and duration of noise exposure, hearing loss has also been related to health conditions. Specifically, individuals with high blood pressure or diabetes may be at a greater risk for hearing impairment.

A study published in the Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery in 2013 investigated hearing loss in 150 people who had been diagnosed with hypertension and 124 people without hypertension. The study found that there was a significant association between hypertension and increased degeneration of hearing. In the hypertension group, 36% of subjects experienced mild hearing loss, compared to around 18% of the non-hypertension group. The researchers hypothesized that hypertension is related to hearing loss because high blood pressure can cause tiny inner-ear bleeds and alterations at the cellular level, both of which may be related to sudden hearing loss.

The American Diabetes Association reports that individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss than those who don’t have diabetes. For people with pre-diabetes, the rate of hearing loss is 30% greater.

Another article published in Clinics Journal in 2010 found a connection between people with metabolic disorders, such as hyperglycemia and thyroid disorders, and sudden hearing loss. The sample included 166 patients and found that sudden hearing loss was twice as prevalent in those with metabolic disorders as in the general population.

While there is a need for more investigations between overall health and better hearing, a trend emerges that those with greater cardiovascular health have a lower risk of hearing impairment. Regular exercise and eating well are two of the best ways to keep your cardiovascular system healthy.

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