Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you may not know that numerous treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Let’s have a look at some examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is associated with an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes give you a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is linked to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study found that people with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar screened. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your chance of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Although 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). A study was conducted on people who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. Although this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds like a car honking) could be one problem. But it could also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your surroundings, it could be easy to stumble and fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially reduce your risk of suffering a fall.
3. Manage 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 due to aging. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. But it’s a link that’s been found pretty consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be sex: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. This is one reason why individuals who have high blood pressure often 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory as to why it would speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. That could possibly damage the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should call us for a hearing exam.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
Even though a strong connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely sure what the link is. A prevalent theory is that having problems hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. Another concept is that hearing loss overloads your brain. When your brain is working overtime to process sound, there might not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could help here, but so can managing hearing loss. Social situations will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of battling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the essential stuff.
If you’re concerned that you may be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.