Aging is one of the most common indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we may, we can’t escape aging. Sure, dyeing your hair may make you look younger, but it doesn’t actually change your age. But did you know that hearing loss has also been linked to health issues associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, avoidable? Let’s take a look at some examples that may surprise you.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. But why would diabetes give you an increased risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t have all the solutions here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition may affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be linked to general health management. A 2015 study discovered that people with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are concerned that you might be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s important to speak to a doctor and have your blood sugar examined. And, it’s a good plan to contact us if you think your hearing may be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Our sense of balance is, to some extent, regulated by our ears. But there are other reasons why falling is more likely if you have hearing loss. Participants with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. Although this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors suspected that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds such as a car honking) could be one issue. 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 suffering a fall.
3. Manage high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might speed up hearing loss due to the aging process. This sort of news may 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 link has consistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that makes a difference seems to be sex: The link between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s primary arteries run right by your ears and it contains many tiny blood vessels. The sound that people hear when they have tinnitus is frequently their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. When your tinnitus symptoms are due to your own pulse, it’s known as pulsatile tinnitus. The principal theory why high blood pressure can lead to 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 force behind each beat. That could possibly damage the smaller blood arteries in your ears. 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 not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to speak with us.
4. Dementia and hearing loss
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to mention 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 strongly connected. A common theory is that having trouble hearing can cause people to avoid social situations and that social withdrawal, and lack of cognitive stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another idea. When your brain is working overtime 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 really helpful but the best 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.
If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing hearing loss, make an appointment with us today.