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 numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is pretty well understood. But why would you have a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management could 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 uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? 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. Research was conducted on people with hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing crucial 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 having a fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
3. Control high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could 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 such as 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 appears to be gender: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s primary arteries are positioned 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 type of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The principal theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually do physical damage 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 potentially be harmed as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should call us for a hearing exam.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Even though a powerful link between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether sure what the connection is. The most prevalent theory is that people with neglected hearing loss often retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. Another theory is that hearing loss overloads your brain. 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 put your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be really helpful but the number one thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. Social engagements 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 think you might be experiencing hearing loss.