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

Your body is a lot like an ecosystem. In nature, all of the fish and birds will be affected if something happens to the pond; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the animals and plants that rely on those birds. We may not realize it but our body functions on very similar principals. That’s the reason why a wide variety of ailments can be connected to something that at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.

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

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Linked to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been recognizing the signs of hearing loss for the last few months. It’s more difficult to follow along with discussions in restaurants. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your tv. And certain sounds just seem a little further away. It would be a smart choice at this point to schedule an appointment with a hearing professional.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your hearing loss is linked to a number of other health problems. Some of the health problems that have documented comorbidity with hearing loss include:

  • Diabetes: additionally, diabetes can have a negative affect on your entire body’s nervous system (particularly 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 diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors, often compounding your symptoms.
  • Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher chance of dementia, although the base cause of that relationship is not clear. Many of these incidents of dementia and also cognitive decline can be slowed, according to research, by using hearing aids.
  • Depression: social separation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole host of problems, many of which relate to your mental health. So it’s not surprising that study after study confirms anxiety and depression have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular disease: occasionally hearing loss has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. But sometimes hearing loss can be aggravated by cardiovascular disease. The explanation for this is that trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear is one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease. As that trauma escalates, your hearing could suffer as an outcome.
  • 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, resulting in dizziness and vertigo. Falls are more and more dangerous as you age and falls can happen whenever someone loses their balance

Is There Anything That You Can do?

It can seem a bit frightening when you add all those health conditions together. But it’s worthwhile to remember one thing: managing your hearing loss can have enormous positive impacts. While researchers and scientists don’t really know, for example, why dementia and hearing loss show up together so often, they do know that managing hearing loss can dramatically lower your dementia risks.

So the best course of action, regardless of what comorbid condition you may be concerned about, is to get your hearing examined.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more health care professionals are looking at hearing health with fresh eyes. Your ears are being considered as a part of your overall health profile instead of being a specific and limited issue. We’re starting to consider the body as an interrelated environment in other words. Hearing loss doesn’t always arise in isolation. So it’s more important 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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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.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC