Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health problems related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Let’s take a look at some examples that may be surprising.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well established. But why would you have an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the solutions here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be connected to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans highlighted the connection 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 consequences. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk with a doctor and get your blood sugar evaluated. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having a hard time hearing cause a fall? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have loss of hearing. A study was conducted on participants who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing relevant sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. 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 might also result in a higher chance of falling. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by treating high blood pressure
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 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. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender appears to be the only important variable: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary 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 called pulsatile tinnitus. The primary theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. Through medical treatment and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to speak with us.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
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 sussing out why the two are so powerfully connected. The most widespread concept is that people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. 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 might not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. 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 scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.