Our bodies are complicated. An issue in one part of our body can fully affect other aspects of our health. Whether it is a back pain from a leg muscle, or a migraine from a food allergy, there’s no escaping the fact that our bodies are interconnected.
Hearing loss is no different. Hearing loss is subtle and is frequently overlooked until it has become a more serious problem. Once symptoms occur, it is important to seek care for hearing loss in order to treat the hearing loss itself, as well as the effects it has on other illnesses.
What is a comorbidity?
The combined presence of two chronic conditions or diseases in a person is known as comorbidity. It can also refer to one or more other disorders that occur with a primary disorder at the same time. Hearing loss can occur with one or several comorbidities. Some may be due to hearing loss, while others may be associated with hearing loss or a possible cause of hearing loss.
Here are some of the most common comorbidities of hearing loss.
Diabetes affects about 30,000,000 Americans. For Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops the development of insulin, while in Type 2, the pancreas actually produces too much insulin, which leads to blood glucose levels that are too high. Diabetes often leads to cardiovascular system problems, such as high blood pressure and adults with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke or heart attacks.
Studies show that hearing loss is twice as prevalent in those who have diabetes as in those who don’t. It is unclear what leads to hearing loss in diabetic patients, but high blood sugar does have the potential to damage the body’s blood vessels, including the blood vessels in the ears. This is more likely if the diabetes symptoms are not well-controlled.
The most common medical problem in this country heart disease. There is a link between hearing loss and heart disease. Healthy blood circulation is important in the auditory system, because parts of your inner ear absorb sound waves, convert them into sound signals and process them in your brain’s auditory cortex. The inner ear contains a group of complex hair cells which is powered by sufficient blood flow. Problems with your cardiovascular system may have an effect on the blood flow in your auditory system, which can affect your hearing seriously.
Hearing Loss and Depression and Anxiety
Hearing loss has been traced to a range of mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. If people suffer hearing loss, in particular untreated hearing loss, they often feel isolated from society. A sense of loneliness comes from having problems in communicating with people, due to a hearing issue. Communication in social situations can be particularly difficult, as it is often difficult for people with hearing loss to differentiate multiple overlapping sounds. So, it can almost feel overwhelming to catch up with friends over coffee. People with chronic hearing loss often withdraw from social activity and become more vulnerable to depression and anxiety.
About 20 million Americans have a kind of thyroid condition, with weight-changing symptoms, headaches, chronic fatigue, and heart palpitations. Some of these thyroid diseases can also affect hearing ability. This includes Pendred syndrome, Grave’s disease and Hashimoto’s Disease.
Balance Issues and Falling
At first it may seem a strange to connect falling with hearing loss, balance problems are one of the most obvious comorbidities of hearing loss. The inside ear has small channels which help us to calibrate balance, but it is largely the brain rather than the ear that the hearing issue is based.
Compromised hearing stretches the brain’s abilities. The mind channels its resources towards speech comprehension in loud environments when the person has an untreated hearing loss. Concentration on other tasks, including balance and coordination, is compromised as a result. This makes it more likely that we will lose our balance, resulting in more falling accidents.
Audiology Concierge Network
Through scientific and medical research, knowledge of the relationship between hearing loss and its complications continues to grow. What we do know is hearing loss and hearing loss comorbidities are serious health issues. So, treating hearing loss can have a preventive effect on comorbidities, especially if it is treated early.
Our providers offer personalized audiology concierge services to treat hearing loss. To learn more about our hearing services, contact us today!