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

Your body is a lot like an ecosystem. In nature, all of the fish and birds will be affected if something happens to the pond; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the animals and plants that rely on those birds. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, works on very similar methods of interconnectedness. That’s the reason why a wide variety of illnesses can be linked to something which at first seems so isolated like hearing loss.

In some respects, that’s simply more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. Your brain might also be affected if something affects your hearing. These situations are identified as comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that demonstrates a link between two disorders without necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect relationship.

We can find out a lot regarding our bodies’ ecosystem by comprehending conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss.

Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Related to it

So, let’s assume that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the last few months. It’s harder to follow along with discussions in restaurants. You’ve been turning up the volume on your tv. And some sounds sound so far away. At this stage, the majority of people will set up an appointment with a hearing specialist (this is the practical thing to do, actually).

Whether you recognize it or not, your hearing loss is connected to numerous other health conditions. Some of the health conditions that have reported comorbidity with hearing loss include:

  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular disease are not necessarily connected. In other instances, cardiovascular issues can make you more susceptible to hearing loss. That’s because one of the initial signs of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear. As that trauma gets worse, your hearing might suffer as a result.
  • Depression: a whole range 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 finds depression and anxiety have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Diabetes: likewise, diabetes can have a negative affect on your overall body’s nervous system (particularly in your extremities). one of the areas particularly likely to be affected are the nerves in the ear. This damage can cause loss of hearing by itself. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can make you more prone to hearing loss from other factors.
  • Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, although the root cause of that relationship is uncertain. 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 principal tool for balance. There are some types of hearing loss that can play havoc with your inner ear, leading to dizziness and vertigo. Falls are progressively more dangerous as you age and falls can happen whenever someone loses their balance

What Can You Do?

When you stack all of those connected health conditions added together, it can look a little intimidating. But it’s worthwhile to remember one thing: tremendous positive impact can be gained by treating your hearing loss. Though scientists and researchers don’t exactly know, for instance, why dementia and hearing loss show up together so often, they do know that managing hearing loss can substantially lower your risk of dementia.

So regardless of what your comorbid condition may be, the best way to go is to have your hearing tested.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s the reason why more health care professionals are looking at hearing health with new eyes. Your ears are being viewed as a part of your overall health profile instead of being a targeted and limited issue. In other words, we’re starting to view the body more like an interrelated ecosystem. Hearing loss doesn’t always happen in isolation. So it’s significant to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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