Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, preventable? Let’s have a look at some examples that might be surprising.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is linked to a higher risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of developing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But general health management might also be a factor. 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, individuals who aren’t managing their blood sugar or otherwise treating the disease, suffered worse consequences. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a physician and get your blood sugar evaluated. And, it’s a good plan to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having a hard time hearing make you fall? Even though our ears play an important part 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 subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing relevant sounds, such as a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to concentrate on the sounds around you, you could be distracted to your environment and that might also lead to a higher chance of having a fall. Luckily, your danger of experiencing a fall is decreased by having your hearing loss treated.
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 might accelerate hearing loss related to the aging process. This sort of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has consistently 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 darn close to it. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s main 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. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can cause 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 possibly be harmed as a result. Through medical intervention and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But if you suspect you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to consult with us.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
Even though a strong connection between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether certain what the connection is. The most widespread theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another theory. 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 left your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear well, social situations are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of trying to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.