Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some cases, avoidable? Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes can affect your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is fairly well recognized. But why would you have an increased risk of experiencing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Well, science doesn’t have all the answers here. Diabetes is connected to a wide range of health problems, and specifically, can cause physical harm to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might impact the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be connected to overall health management. A 2015 study found that people with neglected diabetes had worse results than individuals who were treating and managing their diabetes. If you are worried that you may be prediabetic or have undiagnosed diabetes, it’s essential 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 reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would your risk of falling go up if you have hearing loss? Even though our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this instance, very literally). Participants with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Though this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds like 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 trip and fall. Fortunately, your danger of having a fall is reduced by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Manage high blood pressure to safeguard your hearing
Multiple studies have shown that hearing loss is connected to high blood pressure, and some have found that high blood pressure could actually accelerate age-related hearing loss. Obviously, this isn’t the sort of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the connection has persistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important appears to be sex: If you’re a male, the connection between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a close relation to your circulatory system. Along with the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s main arteries run right by it. The noise that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is often their own blood pumping due to high blood pressure. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is known as pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the primary theory as to why it would hasten hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. Through medical intervention and lifestyle change, blood pressure can be managed. But even if you don’t think you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having trouble hearing, you should give us a call for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
Even though a powerful connection between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not entirely sure what the connection is. The most widespread theory is that people with neglected hearing loss often withdraw from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulus. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another idea. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there might not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Preserving social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, but so can managing hearing loss. If you’re able to hear clearly, social scenarios are easier to handle, and you’ll be able to focus on the important stuff instead of trying to figure out what somebody just said.
If you’re worried that you might be suffering from hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us right away.