Hearing and Your Health
Hearing disorders are incredibly common, from clogged ears to presbycusis to ringing in the ears. Approximately 48 million people in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is not always the result of aging, sometimes it can be caused by another underlying health condition. Studies show that hearing loss can be connected to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Each of these conditions affects the blood vessels in your body, causing them to swell. Because the blood vessels in your ears are so sensitive, the swelling of them due to one of these conditions can cause hearing loss.
Because your hearing is such a vital part of your health and can be caused by underlying conditions, it’s important to schedule regular hearing check-ups. Early intervention can prevent any further complications with your health and will benefit your overall well-being.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss due to prolonged noise exposure or age-related hearing loss often occurs over the course of a few years. Because of the gradual loss of your hearing, it may be difficult to notice the signs. A spouse, close friend, or family member may recognize the signs of hearing loss first and encourage you to have your hearing checked.
If you have experienced any of the following signs of hearing loss, then it may be time for a hearing evaluation.
Hearing and Cognition
Our hearing and brain function are closely related. We don’t actually hear with our ears. We hear when sound travels through the ears up to the auditory cortex of the brain. In the brain is where sounds are converted into meaning and stored as memories. Our brain needs our hearing in order to make sense of sounds and to stay active and healthy.
When left untreated, hearing loss makes it difficult for our brain to hear and process sounds. The brain is working so hard to hear that it can result in feelings of fatigue, forgetfulness, and cognitive decline. It’s important to manage hearing loss at the first signs so you don’t experience a decline in your cognitive functioning or speech comprehension. The best way to manage hearing loss is with hearing aids. Hearing aids will provide your brain with the proper amplification it needs to stay active. We use a tool to help us understand how well information is traveling from the ears to the brain.
Palmetto Family Hearing Center is accomplished in evaluating and treating tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Tinnitus is the perception of a sound that has no external source with some of the more common sounds reported as ringing, buzzing, static, or crickets. It can be constant or intermittent and is heard in one or both ears. Although there is no cure, we do have success in helping patients manage their tinnitus. If you or someone you know suffers from tinnitus, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a tinnitus evaluation.