Your body and an ecosystem have some similarities. In the natural world, if there’s a problem with the pond, all of the fish and birds are impacted as well; and when the birds disappear so too do all of the plants and animals that depend on those birds. We may not recognize it but our body functions on very comparable principals. That’s why a large number of conditions can be connected to something which at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.
In a way, that’s just more evidence of your body’s ecosystem-like interdependence. When something affects your hearing, it may also impact your brain. These conditions are called comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that illustrates a link between two conditions without necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect relationship.
The diseases that are comorbid with hearing loss can tell us a lot regarding our bodies’ ecosystems.
Hearing Loss And The Disorders That Are Associated With it
So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the symptoms of hearing loss for the last couple of months. You’ve been having a tough time making out conversation when you go out for a bite. You’ve been cranking the volume up on your tv. And certain sounds just seem a bit further away. At this point, the majority of people will schedule an appointment with a hearing specialist (this is the practical thing to do, actually).
Whether you recognize it or not, your hearing loss is connected to several other health issues. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health ailments.
- Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your main tool for balance. There are some types of hearing loss that can wreak havoc with your inner ear, causing dizziness and vertigo. Falls are increasingly dangerous as you get older and falls can occur whenever there is a loss of balance
- Depression: social isolation associated with hearing loss can cause a whole host of issues, many of which relate 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.
- Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been linked to a higher chance of dementia, although the underlying cause of that relationship is unclear. Research shows that using a hearing aid can help slow cognitive decline and decrease many of these dementia risks.
- Diabetes: likewise, your whole nervous system can be influenced in a negative way by diabetes (especially in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are particularly likely to be harmed. Hearing loss can be entirely caused by this damage. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more susceptible to hearing loss caused by other issues, often adding to your symptoms.
- Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular conditions are not always connected. But at times hearing loss can be worsened by cardiovascular disease. That’s because one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease is trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear. As that trauma gets worse, your hearing might suffer as an outcome.
What’s The Solution?
It can seem a little intimidating when all those health conditions get added together. But it’s worthwhile to remember one thing: treating your hearing loss can have tremendous positive effects. While scientists and researchers don’t really know, for instance, why hearing loss and dementia so often show up together, they do know that treating hearing loss can dramatically lower your dementia risks.
So the best course of action, regardless of what comorbid condition you might be concerned about, is to have your hearing examined.
Part of an Ecosystem
That’s the reason why more health care professionals are viewing hearing health with new eyes. Your ears are being viewed as a part of your general health profile instead of being a targeted and limited issue. In other words, we’re beginning to view the body more like an interrelated ecosystem. Hearing loss isn’t always an isolated situation. So it’s more significant than ever that we address the entirety, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.