Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not be aware that numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is linked to a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes give you an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or alternatively managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good idea to call us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having difficulty hearing make you fall? Though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss may get you down (in this case, very literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. 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 big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re working hard to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher danger of falling. Fortunately, your risk of experiencing a fall is decreased by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Treat high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. This sort of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference 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 primary arteries run right by your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The sound that people hear when they experience 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 principal theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually do physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a strong link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely sure what the connection is. The most prevalent concept is that people with untreated hearing loss often retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. Another concept 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 engagements will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.