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. Sure, dyeing your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually 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 a few examples, #2 might surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is connected to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of developing hearing loss? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But general health management may also be a factor. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but in particular, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse consequences. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you believe you might have undiagnosed 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. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? 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 loss of hearing. People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing essential sounds, like a car honking, could be a large 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 environment, it could be easy to stumble and fall. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is decreased by getting 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 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 seen. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only important variable: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
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 principal arteries go right by it. The sound that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory as to why it would accelerate hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The little arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical interventions. But if you think you’re experiencing 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. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant 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 strongly linked. The most prevalent concept is that people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. Another concept is that hearing loss taxes your brain. 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 put your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can treating 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 suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.