Your body is similar to an ecosystem. In nature, all of the fish and birds will suffer if something happens to the pond; and all of the animals and plants that depend on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. The human body, often unbeknownst to us, operates on very comparable methods of interconnection. That’s why a large number of diseases can be connected to something which at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.
In some respects, that’s just more proof of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. Your brain may also be impacted if something affects your hearing. We call these conditions comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that demonstrates a connection between two disorders without necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect connection.
The conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss can give us lots of information regarding our bodies’ ecosystems.
Conditions Associated With Hearing Loss
So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the past couple of months. You’ve been having a tough time making out conversation when you go out to eat. You’ve been cranking the volume up on your tv. And certain sounds just feel a bit more distant. When this is the situation, most people will schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist (this is the smart thing to do, actually).
Whether you recognize it or not, your hearing loss is linked to several other health issues. Some of the health problems that have reported comorbidity with hearing loss include:
- Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole host of problems, some of which relate to your mental health. So depression and anxiety, not surprisingly, have been shown in several studies, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
- Diabetes: similarly, diabetes can wreak havoc with your nervous system all over your body (especially in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are especially likely to be damaged. This damage can cause loss of hearing all on its own. But your symptoms can be multiplied because diabetes related nerve damage can make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other factors.
- Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher risk of dementia, though it’s uncertain what the root cause is. Many of these incidents of dementia and also cognitive decline can be slowed, according to research, by wearing hearing aids.
- Cardiovascular disease: sometimes hearing loss has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. In other situations, cardiovascular problems can make you more subject to hearing loss. 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 may suffer as a result of the of that trauma.
- Vertigo and falls: your principal tool for balance is your inner ear. There are some types of hearing loss that can play havoc with your inner ear, leading to dizziness and vertigo. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you age, falls will become significantly more hazardous.
What’s The Answer?
It can seem a little scary when you add all those health conditions together. But one thing should be kept in mind: enormous positive impact can be gained by managing your hearing loss. Though researchers and scientists 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 risk of dementia.
So the best course of action, regardless of what comorbid condition you may be concerned about, is to have your hearing tested.
Part of an Ecosystem
This is why health care professionals are rethinking the importance of how to treat hearing loss. Your ears are being viewed as a part of your general health profile rather than being a targeted and limited concern. We’re beginning to think about the body as an interconnected environment in other words. Hearing loss isn’t an isolated situation. So it’s more important than ever that we keep your eye on the totality, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.