Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still getting older. But did you know that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is associated with a higher danger of hearing loss. But why would you have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you suspect you might 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. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, managed by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. 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 speculate that missing relevant sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. But it might 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. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually speed up age-related hearing loss. This sort of news may 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.) Gender appears 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 really close to it. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are caused by your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a result. Through medical treatment and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you suspect you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to 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 connected. The most prevalent theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another theory. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there may not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can treating hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social situations are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what somebody just said.
If you’re worried that you might be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.