Aging is one of the most prevalent indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you know that hearing loss has also been linked to health problems related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
So it’s pretty well recognized that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would you have an increased danger of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and in particular, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to general health management. A 2015 study found that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse results than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you suspect you may have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls increases
Why would your chance of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have loss of hearing. Research was carried out on individuals who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. Although this study didn’t investigate what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors suspected that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds such as 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 environment, it could be easy to trip and fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially decrease your risk of having a fall.
3. Control high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure might actually hasten 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 connection has consistently been seen. (You should never 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 part of your circulatory system, but they’re darn close to it. Two of your body’s main arteries run right near your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The sound that individuals hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. 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 do physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a consequence. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should give us a call for a hearing exam.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
Even though a powerful link between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely sure what the connection is. A common theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. Another theory is that hearing loss overloads your brain. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there may not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can treating hearing loss. Social engagements 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.
Make an appointment with us right away if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.