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

Your body and an ecosystem have some similarities. In the natural world, if there’s a problem with the pond, all of the birds and fish suffer the consequences; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the plants and animals that depend on those birds. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, functions on very comparable methods of interconnectedness. That’s the reason why something which seems isolated, such as hearing loss, can be linked to a wide variety of other ailments and diseases.

This is, in a way, evidence of the interdependence of your body and it’s resemblance to an ecosystem. Your brain might also be affected if something affects your hearing. We call these conditions comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) name that illustrates a connection between two conditions while not necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect relationship.

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Linked to it

So, let’s assume that you’ve been noticing the symptoms of hearing loss for the past couple of months. You’ve been having a hard time hearing what people are saying when you go out for a bite. Your television’s volume is constantly getting louder. And certain sounds sound so far away. It would be a good choice at this point to make an appointment with a hearing specialist.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your hearing loss is linked to several other health conditions. Some of the health problems that have reported comorbidity with hearing loss include:

  • Depression: a whole host of issues can be the result of social isolation due to hearing loss, many of which are related to your mental health. So it’s not surprising that study after study confirms anxiety and depression have really high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your main tool for balance. There are some types of hearing loss that can play havoc with your inner ear, resulting in dizziness and vertigo. Falls are more and more dangerous as you get older and falls can occur whenever someone loses their balance
  • Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, although the base cause of that relationship is uncertain. Research shows that using a hearing aid can help impede cognitive decline and lower a lot of these dementia concerns.
  • Diabetes: similarly, diabetes can wreak havoc with your nervous system all over your body (particularly in your extremities). one of the areas especially likely to be affected are the nerves in the ear. This damage can cause hearing loss by itself. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors, often compounding your symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular disease: occasionally hearing loss doesn’t have anything to connect it with cardiovascular conditions. But sometimes hearing loss can be aggravated by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the initial signs of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels in the inner ear. Your hearing might suffer as a result of the of that trauma.

What’s The Answer?

It can seem a little scary when all those health conditions get added together. But it’s important to keep one thing in mind: dealing with your hearing loss can have huge positive effects. While 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 substantially lower your risk of dementia.

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

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more health care specialists are looking at hearing health with fresh eyes. Instead of being a rather limited and targeted area of concern, your ears are seen as intimately connected to your general wellbeing. In a nutshell, we’re starting to perceive the body more like an interrelated environment. Hearing loss isn’t an isolated situation. So it’s more significant than ever that we pay attention to the totality, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.

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