Let’s face it, there’s no getting away from aging, and with it often comes hearing loss. Sure, coloring 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 linked to health problems associated with aging that are treatable, and in some instances, avoidable? Let’s have a look at a few examples that may surprise you.
1. Diabetes could impact your hearing
So it’s fairly well recognized that diabetes is associated with a higher 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 has been known to damage the kidneys, eyes, and extremities. One theory is that the condition might affect the ears in a similar way, damaging blood vessels in the inner ear. But it could also be related to overall health management. 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 checked if you believe you might have overlooked diabetes or are prediabetic. And, it’s a good plan to contact us if you think your hearing might be compromised.
2. Increased risk of falling associated with hearing loss
Why would having difficulty hearing cause a fall? Although our ears play an important part in helping us balance, there are other reasons why hearing loss could get you down (in this instance, quite literally). Individuals with hearing loss who have taken a fall were the subjects of a recent study. Although this study didn’t explore the cause of the subjects’ falls, the authors suspected 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 concentrate on the sounds nearby, you could be distracted to your environment and that may also lead to a higher danger of falling. Fortunately, your risk of having a fall is decreased by having your hearing loss treated.
3. Protect your hearing by managing 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. Clearly, this is not the sort of comforting news that makes your blood pressure drop. Even when variables like noise exposure or smoking are taken into consideration, the connection has persistently been seen. (You should never smoke!) Gender appears to be the only important variable: 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. In addition to the many tiny blood vessels inside of your ear, two of the body’s principal arteries run right by it. This is one reason why individuals with high blood pressure often 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. The primary 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 little arteries in your ears could potentially be harmed as a result. High blood pressure is manageable through both lifestyle changes and medical interventions. But if you think you’re dealing with hearing loss, even if you think you’re not old enough for the age-related stuff, it’s a good move to talk to us.
4. Cognitive decline and hearing loss
Even though a strong connection between cognitive decline and hearing loss has been well established, scientists are still not completely certain what the connection is. A common idea is that having difficulty hearing can cause people to stay away from social situations and that social detachment, and lack of mental stimulation, can be incapacitating. The stress of hearing loss straining the brain is another theory. In other words, because your brain is putting so much energy into comprehending the sounds around you, you might not have much energy left for remembering things like where you put your keys. Playing “brain games” and keeping your social life intact can be very helpful but the best thing you can do is treat your 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.
If you’re concerned that you might be dealing with hearing loss, make an appointment with us today.