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Comorbidities of Hearing Loss

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Hearing loss can be difficult to accept because it impacts how you interact with the world around you. From coworkers to family members, having untreated hearing loss can greatly detract from your everyday reactions. In addition to being its own separate condition, hearing loss can also be a symptom of an outcome of additional comorbidities.

What is a comorbidity?

Comorbidity can be well defined as the presence of two diseases in one patient, either simultaneously or right after one another. Comorbidities are usually chronic conditions. Other names used to describe comorbid conditions are coexisting conditions, co-occurring illnesses, and, less frequently, multiple chronic conditions and multimorbidity.

And just like any other medical condition, hearing loss can occur simultaneously with one or more comorbidities. In the United States, hearing loss is the third common medical condition after heart illnesses and arthritis. It is therefore essential to get an annual health checkup if you are experiencing a hearing loss.

Common comorbidities of hearing loss

Comorbidities of hearing loss can range from mental conditions to physical disorders, and a persistent or worsening hearing loss can be a symptom of an even more serious health issue. Many studies have emerged connecting hearing loss to incapacitating conditions like cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, clinical depression, heart illnesses, frequent falls among the elderly, and many more.

Depression

People who experience hearing loss can experience loneliness, grief, and scarcities of all types because they have lost the ability to enjoy the sounds they used to assume, like nature, music, and their loved one’s voices. There has been enough research that connects untreated hearing loss to depression; however, the estimates depend on how many people experience both.

Struggling to hear the entire day at work and home can be very stressful. And living in this state of stress and sadness is unhealthy, particularly because it increases your risk of depression.

Thyroid disease

The thyroid has the responsibility to produce hormones that control the body’s metabolism. This means that any disorder can affect the other body parts like heart rate, energy levels, and hearing. Hearing loss can be caused by both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Studies have also shown that people who undertake radiation therapy for cancer in the neck or head, like thyroid cancer, are more likely to experience hearing loss.

Diabetes

Various researches have linked diabetes to the development of hearing loss. An approximated 30 million people in the US have diabetes, which is a disease characterized by high levels of blood sugar. Unmanaged diabetes can lead to hearing loss because the high blood glucose can damage the blood vessels throughout the body, including the ones in your ears. Nerve damage is another complication of diabetes that can also lead to hearing loss.

Heart diseases

According to the Center for Disease Control, heart illness is the leading cause of death in the United States. People with heart illnesses can have some medical problems that affect the structure and the vessels of the heart. According to studies, a good flow of blood to the inner ear can improve and maintain good hearing health. And on the other hand, the inadequate flow of blood to the vessels in the inner ear can contribute to hearing loss.

Dementia and cognitive impairment

People experiencing mild to severe hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia and other cognitive issues. According to studies, hearing loss cause changes in the brain that increases the risk of dementia. Adults with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared to those with normal hearing.

Frequent falls among the elderly

The leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injures among older people are falls. Falls can lead to serious social, economic, health, and emotional consequences. According to the CDC, more than one out of four elderly adults fall every year. People who experience hearing loss are less aware of their environment. They have difficulty perceiving activities going around them.

Additionally, hearing loss lessens longitudinal alertness; this means that it can be tricky to be able to gauge where the body is relative to objects around them. Lastly, hearing loss makes the brain uses most of its resources to interpret sound and speech and fewer resources when it comes to balance.

The importance of treating hearing loss

It takes the normal person an estimated seven years from the time they notice some changes in their hearing to the time they get a hearing aid. Hearing problems can get worse if not treated and can sometimes be permanent. Untreated hearing loss can also lead to many other negative consequences in physical well-being. It is recommended that you visit an audiologist to get a hearing test. The treatment option for your hearing loss will also depend on the type of hearing loss you are experiencing. Your audiologist will likely recommend hearing aids as the best solution for your hearing loss.

At Brentwood Hearing Center, we offer a comprehensive hearing evaluation and offer the latest hearing aid technology from some of the major top brands. Contact us today at 615-377-0420 and schedule a hearing test.