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 be affected if something goes wrong with the pond; and all of the plants and animals that depend on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. The human body, commonly unbeknownst to us, functions on very comparable principles of interconnectedness. That’s why a wide variety of afflictions 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 similarity to an ecosystem. When something affects your hearing, it may also influence your brain. These situations are identified as comorbid, a name that is specialized and signifies when two ailments have an affect on each other but don’t necessarily have a cause and effect connection.

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

Diseases Associated With Hearing Loss

So, let’s assume that you’ve been noticing the symptoms of hearing loss for the past few months. It’s been challenging to follow conversations in restaurants. You’ve been turning the volume up on your tv. And some sounds just feel a bit more distant. At this stage, the majority of people will schedule an appointment with a hearing professional (this is the practical thing to do, actually).

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

  • Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, although the base cause of that relationship is not clear. Research shows that wearing a hearing aid can help impede cognitive decline and lower a lot of these dementia concerns.
  • Diabetes: likewise, diabetes can wreak havoc with your nervous system all over your body (specifically in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are especially likely to be harmed. Hearing loss can be fully 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.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions are not necessarily linked. But at times 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 symptoms of cardiovascular disease. Your hearing could suffer as a result of the of that trauma.
  • Depression: social separation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole host of concerns, some of which are related to your mental health. So it’s no surprise that study after study finds anxiety and depression have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • 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, causing dizziness and vertigo. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you age, falls can become increasingly dangerous.

What Can You Do?

It can seem a little intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But it’s important to remember one thing: managing your hearing loss can have tremendous positive influences. While scientists and researchers don’t exactly know, for example, why hearing loss and dementia so often show up together, they do know that dealing with hearing loss can substantially lower your risk of dementia.

So regardless of what your comorbid condition might be, the best course of action is to get your hearing examined.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more medical professionals are viewing hearing health with new eyes. Instead of being a rather limited and targeted area of concern, your ears are seen as closely linked to your general wellness. In other words, we’re beginning to view the body more like an interrelated environment. Hearing loss isn’t an isolated scenario. So it’s more relevant than ever that we address the totality, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.

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