Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you might not know that numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s have a look at a few examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well understood. But why would you have a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety 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 related to general health management. 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 controlling their blood sugar or alternatively managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar tested if you think you may have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good plan to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this case, very literally). People with hearing loss who have taken 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 essential sounds, such as a car honking, could be a big 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 stumble and fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of having a fall.
3. Safeguard your hearing by managing high blood pressure
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. 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 account, the link has consistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender appears to be the only significant 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 really close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure frequently 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory as to why it would hasten hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But if you suspect you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re not old enough 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 note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less successful at figuring out why the two are so strongly linked. The most prevalent theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. Another concept is that hearing loss taxes your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can managing hearing loss. Social engagements 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 concerned that you might be experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.