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. You can do some things to look younger but you’re still aging. But did you realize that hearing loss has also been connected to health issues related to aging that are treatable, and in some cases, preventable? Here’s a look at some examples, #2 may come as a surprise.
1. Diabetes could affect your hearing
So it’s fairly well established that diabetes is linked to an increased danger of hearing loss. But why would you have a higher danger of developing hearing loss if you have diabetes? Science is at a bit of a loss here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But general health management could also be a consideration. A 2015 study discovered that people with neglected diabetes had worse results than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s important to get your blood sugar tested if you believe you may have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good plan to contact us.
2. Danger of hearing loss associated falls increases
Why would your chance of falling increase if you have hearing loss? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, very literally). Research was carried out on participants with hearing loss who have recently fallen. Though this study didn’t investigate the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing important sounds such as a car honking) could be one issue. At the same time, if you’re struggling to pay close attention to the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher risk of having a fall. Luckily, your risk of having a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Safeguard your hearing by controlling high blood pressure
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure might accelerate hearing loss related to aging. Obviously, this is not the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. Even when variables such as noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the link has consistently been found. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only important variable: The connection 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. The sound that individuals hear when they have tinnitus is often their own blood pumping as a consequence of high blood pressure. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. The leading theory why high blood pressure can lead to hearing loss is that it can actually do physical harm to the vessels in the ears. Every beat of your heart will have more force if it’s pumping blood harder. That could possibly damage the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. Through medical treatment and lifestyle change, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. But even if you don’t feel like 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 cognitive decline
Even though a strong connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely sure what the connection is. The most prevalent 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. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you may not have much energy left for remembering things like where you left your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be beneficial, 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 essential stuff.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you think you may be experiencing hearing loss.