Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t avoid aging. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still aging. But you might not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Let’s have a look at some examples that may be surprising.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well understood. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the answers here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But overall health management may also be a factor. A 2015 study discovered that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you might be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar screened. And, it’s a good plan to call us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls increases
Why would your chance of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have hearing loss. People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. Although this study didn’t explore the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds like a car honking) could be one problem. 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 risk of falling. Fortunately, your danger of experiencing a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by treating high blood pressure
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure might actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this isn’t the sort of comforting news that makes your blood pressure go down. But it’s a connection that’s been discovered fairly consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that is important seems to be sex: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it. Two of your body’s principal arteries are positioned right near your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often experience 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. The primary 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 little arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a result. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should call us for a hearing test.
4. Dementia 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 successful at figuring out why the two are so strongly linked. A prevalent idea is that having problems 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 overtime to process sound, there might not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.