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

Your body and an ecosystem have some similarities. In nature, all of the birds and fish will suffer if something goes wrong with the pond; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the animals and plants that depend on those birds. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, works on very comparable principles of interconnection. That’s why a wide variety of afflictions can be linked to something that at first seems so isolated like hearing loss.

In some respects, that’s just more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. Your brain might also be affected if something affects your hearing. We call these situations comorbid, a term that is specialized and signifies when two ailments have an affect on each other but don’t always have a cause and effect connection.

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

Conditions Associated With Hearing Loss

So, let’s assume that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the last couple of months. You’ve been having a hard time hearing conversation when you go out for a bite. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your tv. And some sounds sound so far away. When this is the situation, the majority of people will schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist (this is the smart thing to do, actually).

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your hearing loss is linked to numerous other health problems. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been reported with the following health ailments.

  • Dementia: untreated hearing loss has been linked to a higher chance of dementia, although the underlying cause of that relationship is not clear. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by wearing hearing aids.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular disease are not necessarily interconnected. In other cases, cardiovascular problems can make you more susceptible 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. As that trauma gets worse, your hearing might suffer as an outcome.
  • Depression: a whole range of concerns can be the result of social isolation due to hearing loss, many of which are related to your mental health. So depression and anxiety, not surprisingly, have been shown in several studies, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
  • Vertigo and falls: your primary tool for balance is your inner ear. Vertigo and dizziness can be caused by some types of hearing loss because they have a negative influence on the inner ear. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you get older, falls can become significantly more dangerous.
  • Diabetes: likewise, your whole nervous system can be influenced in a negative way by diabetes (especially in your extremities). one of the areas especially likely to be damaged are the nerves in the ear. Hearing loss can be fully caused by this damage. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can cause you to be more susceptible to hearing loss from other factors.

Is There Anything That You Can do?

It can seem a little scary when you add all those health conditions together. But one thing should be kept in mind: huge positive affect can be gained by treating your hearing loss. Scientists and researchers recognize that if hearing loss is addressed, the chance of dementia significantly lowers although they don’t really understand exactly why dementia and hearing loss show up together to begin with.

So the best course of action, regardless of what comorbid condition you might be worried about, is to get your hearing tested.

Part of an Ecosystem

This is why health care specialists are rethinking the importance of how to treat hearing loss. Your ears are being considered as a part of your overall health profile rather than being a specific and limited concern. We’re beginning to consider the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss isn’t an isolated scenario. 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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