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

Your body is a lot like an ecosystem. In nature, if something happens to the pond, all of the fish and birds suffer the consequences; and when the birds go away so too do all of the animals and plants that depend on those birds. The human body, commonly unbeknownst to us, operates on very similar principles of interconnectedness. That’s the reason why something that seems to be isolated, like hearing loss, can be linked to a large number of other ailments and diseases.

In a sense, that’s just more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. When something affects your hearing, it may also impact your brain. These situations are identified as comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) label that demonstrates a link between two conditions while not necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect connection.

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Connected to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been recognizing the symptoms of hearing loss for the past several months. You’ve been having a tough time hearing what people are saying when you go out for a bite. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your tv. And certain sounds just seem a bit more distant. It would be a smart choice at this point to make an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Your hearing loss is linked to numerous health issues whether you recognize it or not. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health problems.

  • Dementia: a higher chance of dementia has been associated with hearing loss, although the root cause of that relationship is unclear. Many of these incidents of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by using hearing aids.
  • Diabetes: additionally, your overall nervous system can be negatively influenced by diabetes (particularly in your extremities). one of the areas especially likely to be damaged are the nerves in the ear. This damage can cause hearing loss by itself. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more vulnerable to hearing loss caused by other issues, often compounding your symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular disease: sometimes hearing loss has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. But at times hearing loss can be worsened by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the initial symptoms 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.
  • Depression: a whole host of problems can be the consequence of social isolation because of hearing loss, many of which are related 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.
  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your primary tool for balance. Vertigo and dizziness can be triggered by some types of hearing loss because they have a damaging affect on the inner ear. Any loss of balance can, of course, cause falls, and as you get older, falls will become increasingly hazardous.

What Can You Do?

When you stack all of those related health conditions on top of each other, it can seem a little intimidating. But it’s worthwhile to keep one thing in mind: managing your hearing loss can have huge positive influences. Even though researchers and scientists don’t really know, for instance, why dementia and hearing loss so often show up together, they do know that managing hearing loss can dramatically lower your risk of dementia.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more health care specialists are viewing hearing health with new eyes. Instead of being a rather limited and specific area of concern, your ears are thought of as intimately linked to your overall wellbeing. We’re starting to think about the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss doesn’t always arise in isolation. So it’s more relevant than ever that we keep your eye on the entirety, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.

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