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

Your body and an ecosystem are similar in some ways. In nature, all of the birds and fish will be affected if something goes wrong with the pond; and when the birds go away so too do all of the animals and plants that depend on those birds. We might not recognize it but our body functions on very comparable principals. That’s why a wide variety of ailments can be linked to something which at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.

This is, in a way, evidence of the interdependence of your body and it’s resemblance to an ecosystem. When something affects your hearing, it may also impact your brain. These conditions are called comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that demonstrates a connection between two conditions without necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect relationship.

The conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss can teach us a lot about our bodies’ ecosystems.

Conditions Associated With Hearing Loss

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the symptoms of hearing loss for the past several months. It’s harder to follow discussions in restaurants. The volume of your television is getting louder and louder. And certain sounds sound so distant. At this point, the majority of people will schedule an appointment with a hearing professional (this is the wise thing to do, actually).

Your hearing loss is linked to a number of health problems whether your aware of it or not. 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, some of which are related to your mental health. So it’s no surprise that study after study finds anxiety and depression have extremely high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Dementia: a higher chance of dementia has been associated with hearing loss, although it’s uncertain what the base cause is. Many of these incidents of dementia and also cognitive decline can be slowed, according to research, by wearing hearing aids.
  • Vertigo and falls: your primary tool for balance is your inner ear. Vertigo and dizziness can be created by some forms of hearing loss because they have a negative influence on the inner ear. Falls are progressively more dangerous as you age and falls can happen whenever someone loses their balance
  • Diabetes: likewise, your overall nervous system can be influenced in a negative way by diabetes (particularly in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are especially likely to be affected. Hearing loss can be fully caused by this damage. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more prone to hearing loss caused by other issues, often adding to your symptoms.
  • Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions are not necessarily interconnected. But sometimes hearing loss can be aggravated by cardiovascular disease. The explanation for this is that trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear is one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease. As that trauma gets worse, your hearing might suffer as a result.

What’s The Solution?

It can seem a little intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But it’s important to remember one thing: managing your hearing loss can have huge positive impacts. While scientists and researchers don’t really know, for example, 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 no matter 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 specialists are looking at hearing health with new eyes. Instead of being a somewhat limited and specific area of concern, your ears are seen as closely connected to your general wellness. In other words, we’re beginning to view the body more like an interrelated environment. Hearing loss doesn’t always develop in isolation. So it’s important to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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