Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not be aware that several 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 could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is pretty well established. But why would you have a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t provide all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, 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 overall health management may also be a factor. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or alternatively managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble hearing make you fall? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, very literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing crucial sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also lead to a higher danger of having a fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your danger of having a fall.
3. Manage 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 may actually speed up age-related hearing loss. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. 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 is important seems to be sex: 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to talk to us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
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 prevalent theory is that having problems hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be debilitating. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there may not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social situations are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of attempting to figure out what somebody just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.