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

Your body is a lot like an ecosystem. In the natural world, if something happens to the pond, all of the fish and birds are impacted as well; and all of the animals and plants that rely on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. The human body, frequently unbeknownst to us, operates on very similar principles of interconnection. That’s why something which seems to be isolated, like hearing loss, can be connected to a large number of other ailments and diseases.

In a way, that’s just more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. When something affects your hearing, it might also impact your brain. We call these conditions comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) name that demonstrates a link between two disorders without necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect connection.

We can learn a lot about our bodies’ ecosystem by comprehending disorders that are comorbid with hearing loss.

Conditions Associated With Hearing Loss

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been recognizing the signs of hearing loss for the past few months. It’s been challenging to follow along with discussions in restaurants. The volume of your television is getting louder and louder. And some sounds just feel a bit more distant. At this point, the majority of 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 several other health problems. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health conditions.

  • Depression: a whole host of problems can be the consequence of social isolation because of hearing loss, many of which relate to your mental health. So it’s not surprising that study after study confirms depression and anxiety have really high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your main tool for balance. Vertigo and dizziness can be created by some forms of hearing loss because they have a negative affect on the inner ear. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you get older, falls will become significantly more dangerous.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular disease are not necessarily interconnected. But sometimes hearing loss can be worsened by cardiovascular disease. The reason 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.
  • Diabetes: additionally, your entire nervous system can be negatively influenced by diabetes (specifically in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are particularly likely to be damaged. This damage can cause loss of hearing by itself. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can cause you to be more susceptible to hearing loss from other factors.
  • Dementia: a higher risk of dementia has been associated with hearing loss, although it’s unclear what the root cause is. Research suggests that using a hearing aid can help slow cognitive decline and decrease many of these dementia risks.

What Can You Do?

It can seem a bit intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But one thing should be kept in mind: enormous positive affect can be gained by treating your hearing loss. While scientists and researchers don’t exactly know, for instance, why hearing loss and dementia show up together so often, they do know that dealing with hearing loss can substantially lower your dementia risks.

So no matter what your comorbid condition might be, the best course of action is to have your hearing examined.

Part of an Ecosystem

This is why health care professionals are reconsidering the importance of how to treat hearing loss. Your ears are being viewed as a part of your total health profile instead of being a specific and limited concern. In a nutshell, we’re starting to perceive the body more like an interrelated ecosystem. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily arise in isolation. So it’s important to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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