Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not know that numerous 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
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well recognized. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to overall health management. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a physician and get your blood sugar checked. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having a hard time hearing make you fall? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, managed by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have loss of hearing. A study was carried out on people with hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing relevant sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. But it might also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your environment, it could be easy to stumble and fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of having a fall.
3. Manage high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually hasten age-related hearing loss. This kind of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the link has consistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that is important seems to be sex: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. The sound that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. 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 pressure behind each beat. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a consequence. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should call us for a hearing test.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so strongly connected. A prevalent theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. The stress of hearing loss straining 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 energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing 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.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us today.