Let’s face it, there’s no escape 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 a number of treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is pretty well recognized. But why would you have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage 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 overall health management may also be a consideration. A 2015 study discovered that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Although our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). A study was carried out on people who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. 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 large part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that could also lead to a higher chance of falling. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Treat high blood pressure to protect your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure may speed up hearing loss due to the aging process. 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 consideration, the link has consistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only appreciable variable: The connection 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 darn close to it. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries run right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is often their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The primary theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical interventions. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should contact us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to mention 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 common idea is that having trouble hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. Another theory is that hearing loss overloads your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.