Let’s face it, there’s no escape from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you may not be aware that numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well understood. But why would you have a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to general health management. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a physician and have your blood sugar tested. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble hearing make you fall? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). Research was carried out on individuals who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. Although this study didn’t explore the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds like a car honking) could be one issue. But it could also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your environment, it could be easy to trip and fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
3. Safeguard your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might speed up hearing loss due to aging. This sort of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. But it’s a link that’s been found rather consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important appears to be gender: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right by it. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure frequently experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also possibly result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the main theory as to why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should call us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to mention that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so powerfully connected. The most prevalent theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you may not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re concerned that you might be suffering from hearing loss, make an appointment with us today.