Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t escape aging. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some instances, avoidable? Let’s have a look at a few examples that might be surprising.
1. Diabetes can impact your hearing
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is associated with a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes has been known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management may also be a factor. A 2015 study revealed that people with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk with a doctor and get your blood sugar evaluated. And, it’s a good idea to contact us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having trouble hearing cause a fall? Although our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this instance, quite literally). A study was carried out on individuals with hearing loss who have recently fallen. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing essential sounds, such as a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that could also lead to a higher danger of falling. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Manage high blood pressure to protect your hearing
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure might actually speed up age-related hearing loss. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the connection has persistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that makes a difference seems to be sex: The link 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 people with high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are the result of your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. 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. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more force behind each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should give us a call for a hearing exam.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Even though a strong link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely certain what the connection is. The most widespread theory is that people with untreated hearing loss tend to retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you may not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can treating hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social situations are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re worried that you might be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.