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

Your body is similar to an ecosystem. In the natural world, if there’s a problem with the pond, all of the fish and birds are impacted as well; and when the birds go away so too do all of the plants and animals that rely on those birds. We might not recognize it but our body functions on very comparable principals. That’s why a wide variety of illnesses can be connected to something that at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.

This is, in a sense, evidence 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 fancy (and specialized) label that demonstrates a connection between two disorders while not necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect relationship.

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

Diseases Associated With Hearing Loss

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been recognizing the signs of hearing loss for the past couple of months. It’s harder to follow conversations in restaurants. You’ve been cranking the volume up on your tv. And certain sounds seem so distant. It would be a good choice at this point to set up an appointment with a hearing specialist.

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

  • Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole range of issues, some of which are related to your mental health. So it’s not surprising that study after study finds anxiety and depression have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Vertigo and falls: your principal 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 get older and falls can happen whenever there is a loss of balance
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions are not always connected. In other situations, cardiovascular problems can make you more susceptible to hearing loss. That’s because one of the first symptoms of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear. Your hearing might suffer as a result of the of that trauma.
  • 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 particularly likely to be affected. Hearing loss can be wholly caused by this damage. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more prone to hearing loss caused by other issues, often adding to your symptoms.
  • Dementia: a higher chance of dementia has been connected to hearing loss, although the root cause of that relationship is not clear. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by using hearing aids.

What Can You Do?

It can seem a little intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But one thing should be kept in mind: treating your hearing loss can have huge positive effects. Researchers and scientists recognize that if hearing loss is addressed, the chance of dementia dramatically lowers although they don’t really understand precisely why dementia and hearing loss show up together in the first place.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

This is the reason why health care specialists are reconsidering the importance of how to manage hearing loss. Instead of being a rather limited and targeted area of concern, your ears are thought of as intimately connected to your overall wellbeing. We’re starting to consider the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss isn’t always an isolated situation. So it’s more relevant 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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