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

Your body and an ecosystem are similar in some ways. In nature, all of the birds and fish will be affected if something goes wrong with the pond; and all of the plants and animals that rely on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. The human body, frequently unbeknownst to us, works on very comparable principles of interconnectedness. That’s the reason why something which appears isolated, like hearing loss, can be connected to a large number of other diseases and ailments.

In a way, that’s simply more evidence of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. Your brain may also be impacted if something affects your hearing. We call these situations comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) label that illustrates a connection between two conditions while not necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect relationship.

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Associated With it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the past several months. It’s more difficult to follow discussions in restaurants. You’ve been turning up the volume on your television. And certain sounds seem so far away. It would be a smart choice at this point to set up an appointment with a hearing professional.

Your hearing loss is linked to a number of health problems whether your aware of it or not. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health conditions.

  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your main tool for balance. There are some forms of hearing loss that can wreak havoc with your inner ear, causing dizziness and vertigo. Falls are increasingly dangerous as you get older and falls can happen whenever there is a loss of balance
  • Cardiovascular disease: sometimes hearing loss has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. In other situations, cardiovascular problems can make you more subject to hearing loss. The reason for this is that trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear is one of the first symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Your hearing may suffer as a result of the of that trauma.
  • Diabetes: similarly, your entire nervous system can be negatively influenced by diabetes (particularly in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are especially likely to be harmed. This damage can cause loss of hearing by itself. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other issues, often compounding your symptoms.
  • Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole range of concerns, some of which are related to your mental health. So depression and anxiety, not surprisingly, have been found in study after study, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
  • Dementia: untreated hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, although it’s not clear what the root cause is. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be slowed, according to research, by wearing hearing aids.

What Can You Do?

It can seem a bit scary when you add all those health conditions together. But it’s worthwhile to keep one thing in mind: tremendous positive impact can be gained by treating your hearing loss. While researchers and scientists don’t exactly know, for instance, why hearing loss and dementia so often show up together, they do know that managing hearing loss can significantly lower your dementia risks.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

This is the reason why health care professionals are rethinking the importance of how to manage hearing loss. Instead of being a somewhat limited and specific area of concern, your ears are seen as closely linked to your overall wellness. We’re beginning to consider the body as an interrelated environment in other words. Hearing loss isn’t always an isolated scenario. So it’s more significant than ever that we keep your eye on the totality, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but 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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