Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t escape aging. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But you may not know that a number of treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s take a look at some examples that may be surprising.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
So it’s pretty well established that diabetes is connected to a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes give you an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management could also be a factor. A 2015 study revealed that people with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a physician and get your blood sugar checked. And, it’s a good plan to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having difficulty hearing make you fall? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have hearing loss. People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing crucial sounds, like a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that may also result in a higher danger of falling. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
3. Treat high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might accelerate hearing loss related to aging. Clearly, this isn’t the kind of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure go down. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has consistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only appreciable variable: 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. Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The primary theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be harmed as a consequence. Through medical treatment and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to speak with us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
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 linked. The most prevalent concept is that people with neglected hearing loss tend to withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another theory. 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 active can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social situations are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re worried that you might be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us right away.