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 take some steps to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you might not know that several treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s have a look at a few examples that may be surprising.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is pretty well established. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the answers here. Diabetes has been known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But it could also be connected to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans highlighted the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with unchecked diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar screened. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Although our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). Participants with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing significant sounds, like a car honking, could be a huge 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 trip and fall. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is decreased by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Treat 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 aging. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. But it’s a link that’s been discovered rather consistently, even when controlling for variables like noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only appreciable variable: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. 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 frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also possibly cause physical harm 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 little arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a consequence. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you suspect you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you believe you’re not old enough 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 important to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less successful at sussing out why the two are so strongly linked. A common idea is that having trouble hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another concept is that hearing loss overloads your brain. 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 left your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, 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.
If you’re worried that you might be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.