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 birds and fish suffer the consequences; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the animals and plants that depend on those birds. The human body, frequently unbeknownst to us, functions on very similar methods of interconnection. That’s why something that appears isolated, like hearing loss, can be linked to a large number of other ailments and diseases.

This is, in a sense, evidence of the interdependence of your body and it’s resemblance to an ecosystem. Your brain may also be affected if something affects your hearing. These conditions are known as comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) name that illustrates a connection between two disorders without necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect connection.

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Linked to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the last couple of months. It’s been challenging to follow discussions in restaurants. The volume of your television is getting louder and louder. And certain sounds seem so distant. When this is the situation, most people will set up an appointment with a hearing professional (this is the wise thing to do, actually).

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

  • Dementia: a higher chance of dementia has been connected to hearing loss, though it’s unclear what the root cause is. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be slowed, according to research, by using hearing aids.
  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your primary tool for balance. Vertigo and dizziness can be caused by some forms of hearing loss because they have a damaging influence on the inner ear. Falls are more and more dangerous as you get older and falls can occur whenever there is a loss of balance
  • Diabetes: similarly, diabetes can wreak havoc with your nervous system all over your body (specifically in your extremities). one of the areas particularly likely to be damaged are the nerves in the ear. Hearing loss can be wholly caused by this damage. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors, often adding to your symptoms.
  • Depression: a whole range of concerns can be the consequence of social isolation due to hearing loss, many of which relate to your mental health. So anxiety and depression, not surprisingly, have been shown in study after study, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular disease: occasionally hearing loss has nothing to connect it with cardiovascular conditions. But sometimes hearing loss can be aggravated by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels in the inner ear. Your hearing may suffer as a result of the of that trauma.

What’s The Solution?

It can seem a bit scary when all those health conditions get added 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 show up together so often, they do know that treating hearing loss can significantly lower your risk of dementia.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more health care professionals are viewing hearing health with fresh eyes. Instead of being a rather limited and specific area of concern, your ears are viewed as closely linked to your general wellness. In other words, we’re starting to perceive the body more like an interconnected environment. Hearing loss isn’t always an isolated situation. So it’s relevant to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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