Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t avoid aging. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still getting older. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, preventable? Here’s a look at some examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well established. But why would you have a higher danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you think you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this case, very literally). Research was conducted on individuals with hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing important sounds, such as a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. 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 trip and fall. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by treating 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. Clearly, this is not the sort of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure go down. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the link has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only significant variable: If you’re a male, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s principal arteries are positioned right by your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The noise that people hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually do physical harm to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be damaged as a consequence. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should call us for a hearing test.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at figuring out why the two are so powerfully linked. The most prevalent theory is that people with untreated hearing loss often retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another idea. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there might not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be very helpful but the best thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, 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 somebody just said.
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.