Aging is one of the most typical indicators of hearing loss, and let’s face it, try as we might, we can’t avoid aging. Sure, dyeing your hair might 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 problems related to aging that are treatable, and in some instances, preventable? Let’s have a look at some examples that might be surprising.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is fairly well recognized. But why would diabetes put you at a higher risk of suffering from hearing loss? Well, science doesn’t provide all the solutions here. Diabetes is connected to a wide variety of health issues, and specifically, can cause physical damage to the eyes, kidneys, and extremities. Blood vessels in the inner ear may, theoretically, be getting damaged in a similar way. But it could also be related to overall health management. A 2015 study discovered that people with neglected diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar checked if you believe you may have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have difficulty hearing, it’s a good idea to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss associated falls goes up
Why would having trouble hearing make you fall? 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 loss of hearing. Individuals with hearing loss who have had a fall were the participants of a recent study. Though this study didn’t explore what had caused the subjects’ falls, the authors speculated that having difficulty hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial 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 could also result in a higher chance of having a fall. Luckily, your danger of having a fall is decreased by getting your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by treating high blood pressure
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure may speed up hearing loss due to the aging process. This sort of news may make you feel like your blood pressure is actually rising. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has consistently been found. (You should never smoke!) The only variable that is important appears to be sex: If you’re a man, the link between high blood pressure and hearing loss is even stronger.
Your ears have a very close relation to your circulatory system. Two of your body’s main arteries are positioned right by your ears and it consists of many tiny blood vessels. The sound that people hear when they experience tinnitus is frequently 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. The principal theory why high blood pressure can bring about hearing loss is that it can actually do physical damage to the vessels in the ears. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. The small arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a consequence. High blood pressure can be managed through both lifestyle changes and medical treatments. But even if you don’t feel like you’re old enough for age-related hearing loss, if you’re having difficulty hearing, you should contact us for a hearing test.
4. Hearing loss and dementia
It’s scary stuff, but it’s significant to note that while the link between hearing loss and cognitive decline has been well documented, scientists have been less productive at sussing out why the two are so powerfully linked. The most prevalent concept is that people with neglected hearing loss tend to retreat from social interaction and become debilitated by lack of stimulation. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into understanding the sounds around you, you may not have much juice left for remembering things like where you left your keys. 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. If you’re able to hear clearly, social situations are easier to deal with, 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 experiencing hearing loss, schedule an appointment with us today.
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