Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. 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 related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 might surprise you.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well recognized. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss 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 damaged in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study discovered that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s essential to talk with a doctor and have your blood sugar checked. And, it’s a good idea to call us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, managed by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have loss of hearing. A study was conducted on individuals who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did speculate that missing essential sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re working hard to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher danger of having a fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger of suffering a fall.
3. Protect your hearing by treating high blood pressure
Several studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure might actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this is not the sort of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. But it’s a link that’s been discovered pretty consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender appears to be the only appreciable variable: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries run right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure often 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. But high blood pressure could also potentially result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the leading theory as to why it would hasten hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The little arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a consequence. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. 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 talk to us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a powerful connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely certain what the link is. A prevalent idea is that having trouble hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. Another theory is that hearing loss overloads your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you may not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing hearing loss. Social situations will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us right away.