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 actually change your age. But you might 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 might surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
So it’s pretty well established that diabetes is linked to a higher danger of hearing loss. But why would you have a higher danger of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the solutions here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not managing their blood sugar or alternatively managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are concerned that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a physician and have your blood sugar checked. And, it’s a good idea 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 trouble hearing make you fall? Although our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this case, very literally). A study was conducted on people who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. Though this study didn’t explore what had caused 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 problem. At the same time, if you’re working hard to concentrate on the sounds around you, you may be distracted to your environment and that could also result in a higher chance of falling. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by managing high blood pressure
Numerous studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this is not the kind of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure go down. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the connection has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems 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 part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s principal arteries run right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The noise that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is often their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are caused by 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 primary theory as to why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed 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 call us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
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 successful at sussing out why the two are so strongly connected. The most prevalent theory is that people with neglected hearing loss tend to retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there might not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining 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 scenarios are easier to deal with, 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 think you might be experiencing hearing loss.