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

Your body is a lot like an ecosystem. In nature, if there’s a problem with the pond, all of the birds and fish suffer the consequences; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the plants and animals that rely on those birds. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, works on very comparable principles of interconnectedness. That’s why a wide variety of illnesses can be connected to something which at first seems so isolated like hearing loss.

This is, in a sense, proof of the interdependence of your body and it’s similarity to an ecosystem. When something affects your hearing, it might also impact your brain. We call these circumstances comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that illustrates a link between two disorders while not necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect connection.

The conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss can give us lots of information regarding our bodies’ ecosystems.

Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Associated With it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the past few months. You’ve been having a difficult time hearing conversation when you go out to eat. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your tv. And certain sounds just feel a bit more distant. It would be a smart choice at this point to set up an appointment with a hearing specialist.

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

  • Dementia: a higher risk of dementia has been connected to hearing loss, although the root cause of that relationship is not clear. Research suggests that wearing a hearing aid can help impede cognitive decline and decrease a lot of these dementia concerns.
  • Diabetes: likewise, diabetes can have a negative affect on your nervous system all over your body (particularly in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are especially likely to be harmed. Hearing loss can be entirely caused by this damage. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can cause you to be more prone to hearing loss from other factors.
  • Vertigo and falls: your main tool for balance is your inner ear. There are some forms of hearing loss that can wreak havoc with your inner ear, resulting in dizziness and vertigo. Falls are more and more dangerous as you age and falls can occur whenever someone loses their balance
  • Depression: social separation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole range of problems, many of which relate to your mental health. So it’s not surprising that study after study confirms depression and anxiety have really high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions aren’t always linked. But sometimes hearing loss can be intensified by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the first symptoms of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels in the inner ear. Your hearing may suffer as a result of the of that trauma.

Is There Anything That Can be Done?

It can seem a bit intimidating when you add all those health conditions together. But one thing should be kept in mind: managing your hearing loss can have enormous positive impacts. Scientists and researchers recognize that if hearing loss is addressed, the risk of dementia significantly lowers although they don’t really understand precisely why hearing loss and dementia manifest together in the first place.

So the best way to go, regardless of what comorbid condition you may be worried about, is to have your hearing tested.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more health care professionals are looking at hearing health with fresh eyes. Instead of being a rather limited and targeted area of concern, your ears are thought of as closely linked to your overall wellness. In other words, we’re starting to view the body more like an interrelated environment. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily arise in isolation. So it’s significant to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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