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 actually change your age. But did you know that hearing loss has also been connected to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some cases, preventable? Let’s have a look at a few examples that may be surprising.
1. Your hearing could be impacted by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a connection is pretty well understood. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the answers here. Diabetes has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear might, theoretically, be getting destroyed in a similar way. But it could also be related to general health management. A 2015 study found that people with overlooked 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 physician and get your blood sugar examined. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good idea to contact us.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? Even though our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this case, quite literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. The study didn’t go into detail about the cause of the falls but it did conjecture that missing crucial sounds, like a car honking, could be a large part of the cause. At the same time, if you’re struggling to concentrate on the sounds nearby, you may be distracted to your environment and that might also result in a higher chance of having a fall. Fortunately, your risk of experiencing a fall is reduced by getting your hearing loss treated.
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 accelerate hearing loss related to aging. This kind of news might make you feel like your blood pressure is actually going up. But it’s a connection that’s been discovered rather consistently, even when controlling for variables such as noise exposure and whether you’re a smoker. (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 man.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s primary arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people with high blood pressure frequently experience 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. But high blood pressure could also possibly cause physical harm to your ears, that’s the main theory behind why it would accelerate hearing loss. Every beat of your heart will have more pressure if it’s pumping blood harder. That could potentially harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle improvements and medical treatments. But if you suspect you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think 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 powerful connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not altogether 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 stimulation. The stress of hearing loss overloading the brain is another theory. When your brain is working extra hard to process sound, there might not be much brainpower left for things like memory. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the number one thing you can do is manage your hearing loss. Social engagements will be easier when you can hear clearly and instead of struggling to hear what people are saying, you can focus on the essential stuff.
Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible if you suspect you might be experiencing hearing loss.