Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair might make you look younger, but it doesn’t really change your age. But you may not be aware that a number of treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Let’s take a look at some examples that might be surprising.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well established. But why would you have a higher risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is 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 connected to general health management. A 2015 study discovered that individuals with neglected diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have overlooked diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar checked. And, it’s a good idea to get in touch with us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your chance of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, managed by our ears. But there are other reasons why falls are more likely if you have hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss who have had a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Although this study didn’t delve into the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors suspected that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds such as 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 trip and fall. The good news here is that treating hearing loss could potentially decrease your danger of having a fall.
3. Treat high blood pressure to protect your hearing
Several studies have revealed that hearing loss is linked to high blood pressure, and some have discovered that high blood pressure could actually hasten age-related hearing loss. Clearly, this is not the sort of reassuring news that makes your blood pressure drop. 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.) The only variable that makes a difference appears to be gender: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t a component of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. In addition to 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 often their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are caused by your own pulse, it’s called pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can cause hearing loss is that it can actually do physical harm to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The little arteries in your ears could possibly be damaged as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. 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 idea to speak with us.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to note that while the connection between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well recognized, scientists have been less successful at figuring out why the two are so powerfully linked. A prevalent theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another idea. 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 left your keys. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can treating hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social situations 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.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.