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

Your body is similar to an ecosystem. In nature, all of the fish and birds will suffer if something goes wrong with the pond; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the plants and animals that rely on those birds. We may not recognize it but our body works on very similar principals. That’s the reason why something that seems isolated, such as hearing loss, can be connected to a large number of other diseases and ailments.

In a way, that’s simply more evidence of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. When something affects your hearing, it might also impact your brain. We call these conditions comorbid, a term that is specialized and signifies when two conditions have an affect on each other but don’t necessarily have a cause and effect connection.

We can find out a lot about our bodies’ ecosystem by understanding disorders that are comorbid with hearing loss.

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Associated With it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the past several months. You’ve been having a tough time making out conversation when you go out to eat. You’ve been cranking the volume up on your television. And certain sounds sound so distant. At this point, 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 connected to numerous other health problems. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health ailments.

  • Dementia: untreated hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, although the base cause of that relationship is uncertain. Many of these cases of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by wearing hearing aids.
  • Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole host of concerns, many of which relate to your mental health. So it’s no surprise that study after study finds depression and anxiety have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • 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 impact on the inner ear. Any loss of balance can, of course, cause falls, and as you get older, falls can become increasingly hazardous.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions are not always interconnected. But at times hearing loss can be worsened by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the first signs 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: similarly, 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 harmed 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 caused by other factors.

What’s The Solution?

It can seem a little intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But one thing should be kept in mind: dealing with your hearing loss can have huge positive effects. Researchers and scientists recognize that if hearing loss is managed, the risk of dementia substantially lowers even though they don’t really know exactly why dementia and hearing loss show up together in the first place.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

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