Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still getting older. But did you know that hearing loss has also been linked to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, avoidable? Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well understood. But why would diabetes give you an increased risk of suffering from hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, 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 overall health management. A 2015 study revealed that individuals with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk with a physician and have your blood sugar screened. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having a hard time hearing cause a fall? Our sense of balance is, to some degree, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. People with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing essential sounds, like a car honking, could be a big part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that may also result in a higher danger of falling. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially reduce your danger of having a fall.
3. Protect your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure might actually speed up age-related hearing loss. This kind 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 link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. Two of your body’s primary arteries run right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. When your tinnitus symptoms are the result of your own pulse, it’s known as 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 speed up hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. That could potentially damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle improvements and medical interventions. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so powerfully linked. A common theory 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 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. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is treat your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to deal with, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what somebody just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.