Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. Sure, dyeing your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not be aware that several treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s take a look at a few examples that might be surprising.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But overall health management may also be a consideration. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or alternatively managing the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you believe you might have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good idea to call us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing make you fall? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this instance, quite literally). People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did speculate 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 pay close attention to the sounds around you, you could be distracted to your environment and that might also lead to a higher danger of falling. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by managing high blood pressure
Several studies have revealed that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. This sort 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 persistently been found. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only important variable: If you’re a male, 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries go right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is often their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The leading theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. 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 if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you believe 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 important to note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at figuring out why the two are so powerfully connected. A prevalent idea is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you may 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 beneficial, 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 worried that you may be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us right away.