Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you might not know that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would you have an increased danger of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health problems, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management could also be a factor. A 2015 study discovered that people with neglected 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 essential to speak to a doctor and get your blood sugar tested. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this instance, very literally). Research was conducted on individuals who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. Though this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds like a car honking) could be one issue. But it might also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your environment, it could be easy to stumble and fall. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Manage high blood pressure to protect your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure may accelerate hearing loss related to the aging process. This kind of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. But it’s a connection that’s been found pretty consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be sex: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s primary arteries run right near your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. The sound that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is often their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. The little arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a result. Through medical intervention and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to consult with us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a powerful connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely sure what the link 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 juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can treating 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 essential stuff.
Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.