Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. 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 some examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is connected to a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of developing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But general 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 in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t managing their blood sugar or alternatively treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having a hard time hearing cause a 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. Research was conducted on people with hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing crucial sounds, like a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. But it could 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 trip and fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
3. Protect your hearing by treating high blood pressure
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might accelerate hearing loss due to aging. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that is important seems to be sex: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s principal arteries are positioned right by your ears and it consists of 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 kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to talk to us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a strong connection between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely certain what the connection is. A prevalent theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there may not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can treating 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, schedule an appointment with us right away.