You may think that hearing loss is an isolated health concern, but the reality is that hearing loss has many comorbidities. These could be the cause your hearing loss, or your hearing loss can make your existing conditions far worse. If you’ve been living with hearing loss, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it’s no big deal, or that hearing loss isn’t affecting other areas of your life. Living with untreated hearing loss will lead to a drastic reduction in your quality of life, as well as poor overall health.
One common comorbidity of hearing loss is diabetes. Did you know that those with diabetes are 50% more likely to suffer from a hearing loss than those with stable blood sugar levels? If you have diabetes, you risk damage to the blood vessels in your ears which can cause hearing loss. People struggling to keep their diabetes in check often experience mild tingling in their extremities which points to nerve damage. This damage can also affect the ears and lead to hearing loss.
One surprising comorbidity of hearing loss is cardiovascular disease, and poor hearing could be a sign that something isn’t quite right with your heart. Poor cardiovascular health can lead to a higher risk of heart attacks, strokes, or a coronary artery disease. Hearing loss could point to a heart problem because when your heart isn’t as strong as it once was, one of the first systems to be affected is your hearing. You may experience damage to the blood flow in your ears, or suffer from blood vessel trauma in the inner ear, when the delicate blood cells in your ear are deprived of oxygen and die due to poor blood circulation.
A frequently overlooked comorbidity with hearing loss is thyroid disease. The thyroid is a gland that’s responsible for releasing the thyroxine hormone which regulates your body’s metabolism and energy levels. When you don’t have enough of this hormone in your blood stream, you have a disease known as hypothyroidism. Your body’s functions, such as heart rate, blood circulation, and digestion, will slow down and you’ll feel fatigued or faint. This can affect your ears by depriving your inner ear of a stable blood flow and lead to a comorbidity with hearing loss.
Along with physical comorbidities, hearing loss has several mental comorbidities such as stress, anxiety, and even depression. The emotional strain of hearing loss can be a lot more intense than you realize, and when you can’t hear clearly you’ll be missing out on the sounds you love the most, like the birds chirping outside your window, the sound of your grandkids laughing in the backyard, or the beautiful tones of your favorite song that has lost it’s full, rich sound.
When you can’t hear clearly you aren’t able to socialize as easily as before, and your relationships suffer. You avoid meeting your friends in a crowded restaurant, and you’re worried that your loved ones are tired of being asked to repeat themselves. This takes a toll on your relationships, and you increase your changes of living with depression.
A comorbidity that really goes both ways is dementia. When you have hearing loss you risk a far earlier onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, and you’ll experience problems with memory loss. There’s a clear link between hearing loss and cognitive decline, and when you have hearing loss you struggle to focus on tasks, accomplish goals, and communicate effectively. Straining to hear places a lot of stress on your brain, and this cognitive load can be taxing on the health of your brain. As cognitive decline progresses, you face an increased risk of developing dementia or another degenerative brain disease.
When you have dementia, you’re also more likely to have hearing loss, as you’re not engaging socially, exercising your brain enough, or keeping your hearing healthy. You’ll experience a rapid shrinking of the brain, as cells in the brain are damaged.
My Hearing Centers
Do the right thing for your hearing health and combat the comorbidities of hearing loss by visiting us at My Hearing Centers to find the perfect hearing device to help you hear in every situation.