Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But did you know that hearing loss has also been connected to health issues associated with aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Let’s have a look at a few examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
So it’s pretty well established that diabetes is associated with a higher danger of hearing loss. But why would you have an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is linked to a wide range of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management might also be a factor. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s essential to speak to a doctor and get your blood sugar screened. 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 your risk of falling increase 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 participants with hearing loss who have recently fallen. 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 might 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 decrease your danger of having a fall.
3. Protect your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
Numerous studies have shown that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually hasten age-related hearing loss. This sort of news may 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. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only important variable: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
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 principal arteries run right by it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure frequently suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are caused by your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The primary theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually do physical harm to the vessels in the ears. 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 improvements and medical treatments. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you feel like you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a strong connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether sure what the link is. The most widespread concept is that people with untreated hearing loss tend to withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. 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 juice 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 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 someone just said.
Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.