Hearing Health Blog

Man talking with healthcare provider about his diabetes and hearing loss.

Your body is similar to an ecosystem. In nature, all of the birds and fish will be affected if something happens to the pond; and all of the plants and animals that depend on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, functions on very comparable methods of interconnection. That’s why something that appears isolated, like hearing loss, can be connected to a large number of other ailments and diseases.

In a way, that’s just more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. Your brain may also be affected if something affects your hearing. These situations are known as comorbid, a term that is specialized and indicates when two ailments affect each other but don’t necessarily have a cause and effect relationship.

The conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss can tell us a lot regarding our bodies’ ecosystems.

Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Related to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss for the past few months. It’s more difficult to follow discussions in restaurants. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your television. And certain sounds just feel a bit further away. It would be a good choice at this point to make an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Whether you recognize it or not, your hearing loss is connected to numerous other health issues. Some of the health conditions that have reported comorbidity with hearing loss include:

  • Dementia: a higher risk of dementia has been associated with hearing loss, though it’s uncertain what the base cause is. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by using hearing aids.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular disease are not necessarily connected. But at times hearing loss can be intensified by cardiovascular disease. The explanation for this is that trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear is one of the first symptoms of cardiovascular disease. As that trauma escalates, your hearing may suffer as a result.
  • Diabetes: likewise, your whole nervous system can be negatively influenced by diabetes (specifically in your extremities). one of the areas especially likely to be harmed are the nerves in the ear. Hearing loss can be fully caused by this damage. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors.
  • Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole range of problems, many of which are related to your mental health. So anxiety and depression, not surprisingly, have been found in several studies, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
  • Vertigo and falls: your primary tool for balance is your inner ear. There are some types of hearing loss that can wreak havoc with your inner ear, leading to dizziness and vertigo. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you get older, falls will become increasingly dangerous.

Is There Anything That Can be Done?

When you add all of those related health conditions on top of each other, it can look a little scary. But one thing should be kept in mind: tremendous positive impact can be gained by dealing with your hearing loss. Though scientists and researchers don’t exactly know, for example, why hearing loss and dementia show up together so often, they do know that managing hearing loss can significantly lower your dementia risks.

So no matter what your comorbid condition may be, the best course of action is to get your hearing examined.

Part of an Ecosystem

This is why health care professionals are rethinking the importance of how to treat hearing loss. Instead of being a somewhat limited and specific area of concern, your ears are seen as intimately connected to your general wellness. We’re starting to think about the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss doesn’t always happen in isolation. So it’s more significant than ever that we pay attention to the entirety, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.

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