Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s have a look at some examples that may surprise you.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well recognized. But why would you have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study revealed that people with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s important to talk with a doctor and have your blood sugar tested. And, it’s a good idea to contact us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble hearing make you fall? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the participants of a recent study. Although this study didn’t delve into the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds such as a car honking) could be one problem. But it might also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your surroundings, it could be easy to trip and fall. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by treating high blood pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. This kind of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. But it’s a connection that’s been discovered pretty consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be sex: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually do physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be damaged as a result. Through medical intervention and lifestyle improvement, blood pressure can be managed. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to consult with us.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Even though a powerful connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether certain what the connection is. The most prevalent concept is that people with neglected hearing loss tend to retreat 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. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can treating hearing loss. Social engagements will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.