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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, if something happens to the pond, all of the fish and birds suffer the consequences; and all of the animals and plants that depend on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. We may not recognize it but our body works on very similar principals. That’s why something that seems to be isolated, such as hearing loss, can be linked to a wide variety of other diseases and ailments.

This is, in a way, evidence of the interdependence of your body and it’s similarity to an ecosystem. Your brain might also be impacted if something affects your hearing. These situations are identified as comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) name that illustrates a link between two disorders without necessarily pointing directly at a cause-and-effect relationship.

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

Hearing Loss And The Conditions That Are Connected to it

So, let’s suppose that you’ve been noticing the signs of hearing loss for the last few months. You’ve been having a hard time making out conversation when you go out to eat. You’ve been cranking up the volume on your television. And certain sounds just feel a bit more distant. At this stage, most people will schedule an appointment with a hearing professional (this is the wise thing to do, actually).

Your hearing loss is linked to several health problems whether you recognize it or not. Some of the health conditions that have reported comorbidity with hearing loss include:

  • 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 damaged. Hearing loss can be wholly caused by this damage. But diabetes-related nerve damage can also make you more vulnerable to hearing loss caused by other issues, often compounding your symptoms.
  • Dementia: neglected hearing loss has been connected to a higher chance of dementia, although the root cause of that relationship is unclear. Many of these incidents of dementia and also cognitive decline can be reduced, according to research, by using hearing aids.
  • Depression: a whole range of problems can be the consequence of social isolation due to hearing loss, some of which relate to your mental health. So anxiety and depression, not surprisingly, have been found in several studies, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
  • Cardiovascular disease: sometimes hearing loss has nothing to do with cardiovascular disease. In other cases, cardiovascular issues can make you more susceptible to hearing loss. The reason for this is that trauma to the blood vessels of the inner ear is one of the first symptoms of cardiovascular disease. As that trauma escalates, your hearing might suffer as a result.
  • Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your primary tool for balance. There are some types of hearing loss that can play havoc with your inner ear, resulting in dizziness and vertigo. Any loss of balance can, naturally, cause falls, and as you age, falls can become increasingly hazardous.

What Can You Do?

When you add all of those connected health conditions added together, it can seem a bit intimidating. But it’s worthwhile to keep one thing in mind: treating your hearing loss can have huge positive impacts. Scientists and researchers recognize that if hearing loss is managed, the chance of dementia dramatically lowers even though they don’t really know precisely why hearing loss and dementia show up together in the first place.

So no matter what your comorbid condition may be, the best way to go is to have your hearing examined.

Part of an Ecosystem

This is why health care professionals are rethinking the importance of how to manage hearing loss. Your ears are being considered as a part of your general health profile rather than being a targeted and limited issue. We’re beginning to consider the body as an interrelated environment in other words. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily develop in isolation. So it’s relevant to pay attention to your health as a whole.

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