Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you may not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 might surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
So it’s pretty well established that diabetes is associated with 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 answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study discovered 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 overlooked diabetes, it’s important to talk with a physician and get your blood sugar examined. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. Research was carried out on participants with hearing loss who have recently fallen. Though this study didn’t delve into what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds like 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 surroundings, it could be easy to trip and fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger of having a fall.
3. Control 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 may accelerate hearing loss related to the aging process. Clearly, this is not the kind of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure go down. But it’s a link that’s been found rather consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be gender: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. The sound that individuals hear when they have 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 called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also possibly cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the primary theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a consequence. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to consult with us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to mention that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less successful at figuring out why the two are so strongly linked. A common theory is that having problems hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of mental stimulation, can be debilitating. The stress of hearing loss overloading 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 juice 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. Social situations will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
If you’re concerned that you may be dealing with hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.