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. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health issues associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, preventable? Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is associated with an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would diabetes give you a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health problems, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But overall health management might also be a factor. A 2015 study revealed that people with overlooked diabetes had worse results 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 physician and have your blood sugar examined. And, it’s a good plan to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble hearing cause a fall? Although our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). Research was conducted on people who have hearing loss who have recently had a fall. The study didn’t detail the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing relevant sounds, such as 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 surroundings, it could be easy to stumble and fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially reduce your danger of having a fall.
3. Safeguard 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 might speed up hearing loss related to aging. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. But it’s a connection that’s been found rather consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (Please don’t smoke.) Gender seems to be the only significant 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. In addition to 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 experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually cause 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 is manageable through both lifestyle modifications and medical interventions. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should contact us for a hearing test.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to mention that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less productive at figuring out why the two are so powerfully linked. A prevalent idea is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be debilitating. Another concept is that hearing loss taxes your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you may not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be really helpful but the number one thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. Social engagements will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of battling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss.