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 be aware that numerous treatable health conditions have also been related to hearing loss. Let’s have a look at some examples that might surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well recognized. But why would you have an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management could also be a consideration. 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 unchecked diabetes, in other words, individuals who are not managing their blood sugar or otherwise managing the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are worried that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a physician and have your blood sugar evaluated. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having a hard time hearing make you fall? Although our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this instance, quite literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have taken 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 conjecture that missing crucial sounds, such as a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher chance of having a fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
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. Clearly, this isn’t the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. But it’s a link that’s been found fairly consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important appears to be sex: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s main arteries run right near your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. The noise that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. 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 give us a call for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a strong connection 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 problems hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another concept is that hearing loss overloads your brain. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there may not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re worried that you may be experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.