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 aging. 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 come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
So it’s pretty well established that diabetes is associated with an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would you have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes has been known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management could also be a consideration. A 2015 study discovered that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls increases
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? 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, quite literally). A study was carried out on people with hearing loss who have recently fallen. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing essential sounds, such as a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to concentrate on the sounds around you, you could be distracted to your environment and that may also result in a higher chance of falling. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by treating high blood pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Clearly, this is not the sort of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. But it’s a link that’s been discovered rather consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (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 aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s principal arteries run right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the leading 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. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. 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 contact us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a powerful link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether certain what the link is. A common theory is that having problems hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is treat your 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 essential stuff.
Make an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.