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. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, preventable? Let’s take a look at some examples that might be surprising.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well understood. But why would diabetes give you a higher risk of developing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you think you may have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing make you fall? Though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, very literally). People with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the participants of a recent study. Although this study didn’t delve into what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds like a car honking) could be one issue. 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. Fortunately, your danger of experiencing a fall is decreased by getting 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 speed up hearing loss related to aging. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the connection has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only significant variable: The connection 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. Two of your body’s primary arteries are positioned right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are the result of your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the primary theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. 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. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. But if you think 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 speak with us.
4. Hearing loss and cognitive decline
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less successful at figuring out why the two are so strongly linked. The most prevalent theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. Another theory is that hearing loss overloads your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding 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 helpful, but so can treating hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social situations 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.
Make an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.