Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you may not know that several treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 might surprise you.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is linked to a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would you have a higher risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health problems, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But general health management may also be a consideration. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans highlighted the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who aren’t managing their blood sugar or alternatively treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this case, quite literally). Participants with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing essential sounds, like a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re working hard to concentrate on the sounds around you, you may be distracted to your environment and that could also lead to a higher chance of falling. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Manage high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might speed up hearing loss related to aging. Obviously, this is not the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has persistently been found. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important appears to be gender: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
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 go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often suffer from 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 cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could possibly be harmed as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But if you think you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to speak with us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at figuring out why the two are so powerfully linked. A prevalent theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. 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. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage 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 essential stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss.