Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not know that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Let’s take a look at a few examples that might be surprising.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well recognized. 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 linked 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 general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or alternatively treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you might have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having a hard time hearing cause a fall? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have hearing loss. A study was conducted on individuals who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did conjecture 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 pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher chance of having a fall. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by managing high blood pressure
Multiple studies have revealed that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure may actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure go down. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the link has persistently been found. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that makes a difference seems to be gender: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s primary arteries run right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals who have high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as 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 little arteries in your ears could potentially be damaged as a consequence. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to speak with us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to mention that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less successful at sussing out why the two are so strongly linked. The most widespread theory is that people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there might not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can treating hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.