Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But you may not know that numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s take a look at some examples that might surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well established. But why would diabetes give you a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management could also be a factor. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, managed by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have loss of hearing. Individuals with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Although this study didn’t explore the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds such as a car honking) could be one issue. At the same time, if you’re working hard to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that might also lead to a higher chance of falling. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger 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 due to aging. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. But it’s a link that’s been discovered rather consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only important variable: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are the result of your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The little arteries in your ears could potentially be damaged as a result. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should give us a call for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less successful at figuring out why the two are so powerfully linked. The most prevalent concept is that people with untreated hearing loss often retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. 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 might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be really helpful but the best thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. Social situations will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of battling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.