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 fish and birds suffer the consequences; and when the birds go away so too do all of the plants and animals that rely on those birds. The human body, frequently unbeknownst to us, functions on very similar methods of interconnectedness. That’s the reason why something which seems isolated, like hearing loss, can be connected to a wide variety of other diseases and ailments.

This is, in a way, proof of the interdependence of your body and it’s similarity to an ecosystem. Your brain may also be impacted if something affects your hearing. We call these situations comorbid, a name that is specialized and signifies when two conditions have an affect on each other but don’t always have a cause and effect relationship.

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

Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Related to it

So, let’s assume that you’ve been recognizing the signs of hearing loss for the last several months. It’s harder to follow along with discussions in restaurants. The volume of your television is constantly getting louder. And certain sounds just feel a bit further away. When this is the situation, the majority of people will make an appointment with a hearing specialist (this is the smart thing to do, actually).

Your hearing loss is connected to numerous health issues whether your aware of it or not. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health conditions.

  • Dementia: a higher risk of dementia has been linked to hearing loss, although the base cause of that relationship is unclear. Research reveals that using a hearing aid can help slow down cognitive decline and decrease a lot of these dementia risks.
  • Vertigo and falls: your principal tool for balance is your inner ear. Vertigo and dizziness can be created by some types of hearing loss because they have a negative impact on the inner ear. Falls are more and more dangerous as you age and falls can occur whenever there is a loss of balance
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions aren’t necessarily linked. In other situations, cardiovascular problems can make you more vulnerable to hearing loss. That’s because one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels in the inner ear. As that trauma gets worse, your hearing may suffer as a result.
  • Depression: social separation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole range of problems, some of which relate to your mental health. So it’s no surprise that study after study confirms anxiety and depression have really high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Diabetes: additionally, diabetes can wreak havoc with your entire body’s nervous system (especially in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are particularly likely to be damaged. This damage can cause loss of hearing all on its own. But your symptoms can be multiplied because diabetes related nerve damage can cause you to be more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors.

Is There Anything That You Can do?

When you stack all of those connected health conditions on top of each other, it can look a little intimidating. But one thing should be kept in mind: managing your hearing loss can have tremendous positive influences. Researchers and scientists understand that if hearing loss is addressed, the chance of dementia dramatically lowers even though they don’t really know exactly why dementia and hearing loss show up together to begin with.

So the best way to go, no matter what comorbid condition you may be concerned about, is to have your hearing tested.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more medical specialists are looking at hearing health with fresh eyes. Your ears are being regarded as a part of your total health profile instead of being a specific and limited concern. We’re beginning to think about the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily happen in isolation. So it’s more important than ever that we pay attention to 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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