Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, coloring your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, avoidable? Let’s have a look at some examples that might surprise you.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well understood. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and in particular, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management could also be a factor. A 2015 study found that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s important to get your blood sugar checked if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good plan to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Danger of hearing loss related falls increases
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? 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 loss of hearing. Individuals with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing crucial sounds, such as a car honking, could be a big 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. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger 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 may accelerate hearing loss related to the aging process. Obviously, 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 consideration, the link has persistently been found. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only important variable: The connection 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people 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 the result of your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The primary theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical harm to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly damage the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good idea to consult with us.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant 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 powerfully connected. A prevalent idea is that having problems hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the best thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of trying to figure out what somebody just said.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.