Effects of Hearing Loss in Princeton, NJ
The Hearing Bone is Connected to the What?
Several recent studies have found links between hearing loss and other medical conditions.
“Hear” are eight conditions and potential outcomes that are often linked to or the result of hearing loss:
A healthy cardiovascular system positively affects hearing because the inner ear is extremely sensitive to blood flow. Inadequate blood flow to the blood vessels of the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.
High blood glucose levels associated with diabetes can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the inner ear. In fact, people with diabetes are about twice as likely to have hearing loss as those without it.
Toxins that accumulate in the body and are associated with kidney failure can cause damage to nerves, including those of the inner ear.
People with “untreated” hearing loss, meaning they do not wear hearing aids, are shown to have a five times greater risk for dementia and cognitive decline. Even people with mild hearing loss have double the risk of developing these conditions. Research is ongoing to discover the “why,” but some suggest it is the lack of social engagement. Others suggest it is because the areas of the brain used for hearing and understanding are also associated with memory and learning.
People who have hearing loss, but do not utilize hearing aids, score higher on depression scales. Conversely, people who utilize hearing aids have fewer depressive symptoms, greater social engagement and an improved quality of life.
Hearing loss significantly increases the risk of falls for older people. Even having mild hearing loss triples the risk of a fall, and the risk increases by 140 percent with every 10 decibels of hearing loss. Researchers speculate the reasons may be due to having less environmental awareness to people, pets and other things going on around them. Limited spatial awareness (where the body is positioned in relation to other people and objects around it) could be another reason. And many researchers point to cognitive overload as a hindrance to balance. This means that those with hearing loss are using more of their mental resources to hear and interpret speech and other sounds. In this case, the person has fewer mental resources leftover to dedicate to maintaining balance. One recent study showed that wearing hearing aids makes a definitive difference in balance tests results.
Research found that older men with hearing loss have a greater risk of dying, particularly from cardiovascular disease. But men and women who used hearing aids—even though they were older and had more severe hearing loss—had a significantly lower mortality risk than those with hearing loss who did not wear hearing aids.
As hearing loss is linked to many other health conditions, it is not surprising that it is also associated with increased hospitalization rates.
Princeton Otolaryngology Associates Can Help
The best thing to do for hearing loss is to find out if you have it as soon as possible, take it seriously and treat it immediately. If you are concerned about hearing loss or damage and think you may need professional testing, schedule your consultation today.