Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often 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 a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would you have an increased 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 problems, and in particular, 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 connected to overall health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the connection between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Although our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss may get you down (in this case, very literally). Participants 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, like a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re working hard to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that may also lead to a higher risk of having a fall. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is decreased by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by managing high blood pressure
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might accelerate hearing loss due to the aging process. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has persistently been found. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only appreciable variable: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run 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. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The primary theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually do physical harm to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The little arteries in your ears could possibly be harmed as a consequence. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should contact us for a hearing exam.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a powerful link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely sure what the connection is. 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 debilitating. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another theory. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you might not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be really helpful but the best thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. Social situations will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
Make an appointment with us right away if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.