Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t escape aging. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you know that hearing loss has also been linked to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, preventable? Let’s take a look at some examples that may surprise you.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is connected to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall 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, individuals who aren’t controlling their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse outcomes. If you are concerned that you might be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s important to speak to a physician and get your blood sugar tested. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. Research was carried out on individuals with 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 nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher danger of falling. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially decrease 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 related to the aging process. Obviously, this isn’t the kind of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure drop. 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 seems 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries run right by it. The sound that people hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are caused by your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The little arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a consequence. 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 connection between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether sure what the connection is. The most widespread theory is that people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss straining 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. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be really helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what somebody just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss.