Let’s face it, there’s no escape from aging, and with it usually comes hearing loss. You can take some steps to look younger but you’re still getting older. But you might not know that numerous treatable health conditions have also been associated with hearing loss. Here’s a look at some examples, #2 might come as a surprise.
1. Your hearing could be affected by diabetes
The fact that hearing loss and diabetes have a link is pretty well understood. But why would diabetes put you at an increased risk of developing hearing loss? Science is at somewhat of a loss here. Diabetes is known to harm the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One idea is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, destroying blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be connected to overall health management. A 2015 study discovered that people with overlooked diabetes had worse outcomes than people who were treating and managing their diabetes. It’s significant to get your blood sugar tested if you suspect you might have undiagnosed diabetes or are prediabetic. By the same token, if you have trouble hearing, it’s a good plan to reach out to us.
2. Risk of hearing loss related falls goes up
Why would having a hard time hearing make you fall? Although our ears play an important role in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss might get you down (in this case, quite literally). People with hearing loss who have had a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Though this study didn’t delve into the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors suspected that having trouble hearing what’s around you (and missing crucial sounds such as a car honking) could be one problem. 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 risk of having a fall. The good news here is that managing hearing loss could potentially decrease your risk of having a fall.
3. Treat high blood pressure to protect your hearing
High blood pressure and hearing loss have been closely linked in some studies indicating that high blood pressure may accelerate hearing loss due to the aging process. Clearly, this isn’t the kind of comforting news that makes your blood pressure go down. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into account, the link has persistently been seen. (Please don’t smoke.) The only variable that is important seems to be sex: The connection between hearing loss and high blood pressure is even stronger if you’re a male.
Your ears aren’t part of your circulatory system, but they’re really close to it. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside your ear, two of the body’s main arteries go right by it. This is one reason why people who have high blood pressure often experience tinnitus, the pulsing they’re hearing is actually their own blood pumping. That’s why this kind of tinnitus is called pulsatile tinnitus; you hear your pulse. But high blood pressure could also potentially cause physical damage to your ears, that’s the leading theory as to why it would accelerate hearing loss. If your heart is pumping harder, there’s more pressure behind each beat. That could possibly harm the smaller blood arteries inside of your ears. Through medical treatment and lifestyle improvement, it is possible to manage high blood pressure. 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. Dementia and hearing loss
Even though a powerful link between mental decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely certain 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. Another theory is that hearing loss taxes your brain. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you might not have much juice left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Maintaining social ties and doing crosswords or “brain games” could be helpful, but so can managing 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 essential stuff instead of attempting to figure out what somebody just said.
Schedule an appointment with us right away if you think you might be experiencing hearing loss.