Let’s face it, there’s no escape from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, dyeing your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Here’s a look at a few examples, #2 may surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty 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 has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study discovered that people with neglected diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to talk with a doctor and have your blood sugar tested. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Increased danger of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your chance of falling increase 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 hearing loss. Participants 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, such as a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. But it could 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. Luckily, your danger of experiencing a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
Several studies have shown that hearing loss is associated with high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could 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 found. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only significant variable: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a man.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they have 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 called pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually cause physical damage to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. The little arteries in your ears could potentially be damaged as a consequence. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should contact us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s important to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so powerfully connected. A common idea is that having problems hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another theory. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there may not be very much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving 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 battling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the important stuff.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss.