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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 suffer if something happens to the pond; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the animals and plants that depend on those birds. We may not know it but our body works on very similar principals. That’s why something which appears isolated, like hearing loss, can be connected to a wide variety of other ailments and diseases.

This is, in a sense, evidence of the interdependence of your body and it’s resemblance to an ecosystem. When something affects your hearing, it might also impact your brain. These situations are identified as comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) name that demonstrates a connection between two disorders without necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect relationship.

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

Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Connected to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the symptoms of hearing loss for the last several months. You’ve been having a hard time hearing conversation when you go out for a bite. The volume of your television is getting louder and louder. And certain sounds just seem a little further away. It would be a good choice at this point to set up an appointment with a hearing professional.

Whether you recognize it or not, your hearing loss is connected to a number of other health problems. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been reported with the following health problems.

  • Dementia: a higher chance of dementia has been linked to hearing loss, although the base cause of that relationship is unclear. Research reveals that wearing a hearing aid can help slow down cognitive decline and decrease a lot of these dementia risks.
  • Depression: social separation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole host of concerns, some of which are related to your mental health. So it’s no surprise that study after study confirms anxiety and depression have very high comorbidity rates with hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular disease: sometimes hearing loss doesn’t have anything to connect it with cardiovascular conditions. In other situations, cardiovascular issues can make you more susceptible to hearing loss. That’s because one of the initial symptoms of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear. As that trauma escalates, your hearing might suffer as a result.
  • Vertigo and falls: your primary tool for balance is your inner ear. Vertigo and dizziness can be caused by some forms of hearing loss because they have a negative impact on the inner ear. Falls are more and more dangerous as you age and falls can occur whenever there is a loss of balance
  • Diabetes: similarly, diabetes can have a negative affect on your nervous system all over your body (particularly in your extremities). one of the areas especially likely to be damaged are the nerves in the ear. Hearing loss can be wholly caused by this damage. But your symptoms can be compounded because diabetes related nerve damage can make you more susceptible to hearing loss from other factors.

What’s The Solution?

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

So the best course of action, no matter what comorbid condition you may be worried about, is to get your hearing checked.

Part of an Ecosystem

That’s why more medical specialists are looking at hearing health with fresh eyes. Your ears are being considered as a part of your overall health profile rather than being a specific and limited issue. In a nutshell, we’re beginning to view the body more like an interconnected ecosystem. 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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