Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not know that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Let’s take a look at some examples that might surprise you.
1. Diabetes can impact your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well recognized. But why would you have an increased risk of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the solutions here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may impact the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But overall health management may also be a factor. A 2015 study revealed that people with neglected 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 get your blood sugar tested. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having difficulty hearing make you fall? Though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, very literally). Participants with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing relevant sounds, like a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. But it might also go the other way, if difficulty hearing means you’re paying more attention to sounds than to your environment, it could be easy to stumble and fall. Fortunately, your danger of experiencing a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Treat high blood pressure to protect your hearing
Several studies have revealed that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure may actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. This sort of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has persistently been found. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only appreciable variable: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it. Two of your body’s principal arteries run right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The noise that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also possibly result in physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory behind why it would speed up hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. But if you suspect you’re experiencing hearing loss, even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a strong link between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely sure what the link is. A common idea is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of mental stimulation, can be debilitating. 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 might not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing 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 attempting to figure out what someone just said.
Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.