Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. 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? Let’s have a look at a few examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing can be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well established. But why would you have an increased danger of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But general health management might also be a factor. 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 overlooked diabetes, it’s important to talk with a physician and get your blood sugar evaluated. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble 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. A study was conducted on people who have hearing loss who have recently fallen. Although this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds like a car honking) could be one problem. But it could 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. Luckily, your risk of experiencing a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by managing high blood pressure
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure may actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this is not the sort of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure go down. But it’s a link that’s been discovered fairly consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (You should never smoke!) Gender seems to be the only significant variable: If you’re a man, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s main arteries run right by your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. This is one reason why individuals who have high blood pressure often suffer from tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this type of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The principal 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 force behind each beat. The little arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a consequence. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you believe you’re too young for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to speak with us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a strong link between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely sure what the link is. The most prevalent concept is that people with neglected hearing loss tend to retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. Another concept is that hearing loss taxes 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. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life active can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what someone just said.
If you’re worried that you might be experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.