Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not be aware that several treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well understood. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? 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. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study found that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls increases
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Even though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this instance, very literally). Participants with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing crucial sounds, like a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. 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. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Treat high blood pressure to protect your hearing
Several studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has persistently been found. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only important variable: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s primary arteries run right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also possibly result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the leading theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to consult with us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to mention that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so powerfully linked. A prevalent idea is that having problems hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there may not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing 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.
Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss.