Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Diabetes can impact your hearing
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is connected to a higher danger of hearing loss. But why would you have an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm 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 connected to overall health management. A 2015 study revealed that people with neglected diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you might have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss may get you down (in this instance, very literally). People with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Although this study didn’t investigate the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds such as 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 stumble and fall. Fortunately, your danger of experiencing a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Manage high blood pressure to protect your hearing
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 the aging process. This sort of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has consistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important seems to be gender: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s primary arteries are positioned right near your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often suffer from 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. 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 pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a result. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should contact us for a hearing exam.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at figuring out why the two are so strongly connected. The most prevalent theory is that people with neglected hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another idea. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you may not have much energy left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
Make an appointment with us right away if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.