Your body and an ecosystem have some similarities. In nature, all of the birds and fish will suffer if something happens to the pond; and all of the animals and plants that rely on the birds will disappear if the birds disappear. We might not recognize it but our body functions on very comparable principals. That’s why a wide variety of afflictions can be connected to something that at first appears so isolated like hearing loss.
This is, in a sense, proof of the interdependence of your body and it’s resemblance to an ecosystem. When something affects your hearing, it may also impact your brain. We call these conditions comorbid, a fancy (and specialized) term that illustrates a connection between two conditions while not necessarily articulating a cause-and-effect relationship.
The conditions that are comorbid with hearing loss can teach us a lot about our bodies’ ecosystems.
Diseases Associated With Hearing Loss
So, let’s assume that you’ve been recognizing the signs of hearing loss for the past couple of months. You’ve been having a difficult time hearing conversation when you go out to eat. The volume of your television is constantly getting louder. And certain sounds just feel a little more distant. When this is the situation, most people will set up an appointment with a hearing professional (this is the practical thing to do, actually).
Your hearing loss is connected to numerous health problems whether you recognize it or not. Comorbidity with hearing loss has been documented with the following health ailments.
- Depression: social isolation brought on by hearing loss can cause a whole host of problems, some of which relate to your mental health. So anxiety and depression, not surprisingly, have been shown in study after study, to have a high rate of comorbidity with hearing loss.
- Dementia: untreated hearing loss has been linked to a higher chance of dementia, although the base cause of that relationship is not clear. Research reveals that wearing a hearing aid can help slow cognitive decline and lower a lot of these dementia risks.
- Cardiovascular disease: hearing loss and cardiovascular disease aren’t always linked. In other situations, cardiovascular problems can make you more vulnerable 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 gets worse, your hearing may suffer as a result.
- Vertigo and falls: your inner ear is your principal tool for balance. Vertigo and dizziness can be triggered by some types of hearing loss because they have a negative affect on the inner ear. Falls are increasingly dangerous as you get older and falls can happen whenever there is a loss of balance
- Diabetes: additionally, your overall nervous system can be negatively influenced by diabetes (particularly in your extremities). the nerves in the ear are particularly likely to be harmed. This damage can cause hearing loss by itself. But your symptoms can be multiplied because diabetes related nerve damage can cause you to be more susceptible to hearing loss from other factors.
What’s The Solution?
When you stack all of those related health conditions on top of each other, it can seem a bit scary. But one thing should be kept in mind: managing your hearing loss can have enormous positive effects. Though scientists and researchers don’t really know, for example, why dementia and hearing loss show up together so often, they do know that treating hearing loss can substantially lower your dementia risks.
So the best way to go, regardless of what comorbid condition you may be concerned about, is to have your hearing examined.
Part of an Ecosystem
This is the reason why health care specialists are reconsidering the importance of how to manage hearing loss. Your ears are being viewed as a part of your total health profile instead of being a targeted and limited concern. In other words, we’re beginning to view the body more like an interconnected environment. Hearing loss doesn’t necessarily happen in isolation. So it’s more relevant than ever that we address the totality, not to the proverbial pond or the birds in isolation, but to your health as a whole.