Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not know that numerous treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well recognized. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t have all the solutions here. Diabetes has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study that looked at U.S. military veterans underscored the link between hearing loss and diabetes, but specifically, it found that those with uncontrolled diabetes, in other words, people who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or alternatively treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you might have overlooked 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 risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having trouble hearing cause a fall? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss may get you down (in this instance, quite literally). Research was carried out on people who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing crucial sounds, such as a car honking, could be a huge part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re working hard to pay close attention to the sounds around you, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher chance of falling. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your danger of having a fall.
3. Control 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 going up. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has persistently been found. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be gender: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. The sound that people hear when they have tinnitus is often 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. The primary theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually do physical damage to the vessels in the ears. 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. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should call us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
Even though a powerful link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely certain what the connection is. The most widespread theory is that people with neglected hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another theory. 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. Maintaining 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 struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the essential stuff.
If you’re worried that you may be dealing with hearing loss, make an appointment with us today.