Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But you might not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well recognized. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study found that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar tested if you think you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would your chance of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing significant sounds, such as 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 surroundings, it could be easy to trip and fall. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by treating high blood pressure
Numerous studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure may actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this is not the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has consistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender appears to be the only important variable: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries run right by it. 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 type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The principal 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 pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But if you suspect you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to consult with us.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to mention 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 theory 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. 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. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the best thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from hearing loss, make an appointment with us right away.