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What Other Conditions are Associated with Hearing Loss?

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Woman with Hearing Loss

Hearing loss commonly occurs so gradually over the course of years or even decades, many of us spend years in the dark about our issues. What starts off as a subtle problem can quickly lead to a number of unwanted impacts, from social withdrawal to anxiety. Hearing loss can affect other facets of your health, which is why it’s important to visit an audiologist if you recognize the symptoms below:

  • Struggling to follow conversations in crowded rooms
  • Often being told that you have the TV or radio on too loud
  • Finding that it takes you a little while to piece together what someone has said after they have said it
  • ‘Difficulty hearing men and women
  • Complaining that everyone around you is mumbling

Hearing loss has many causes and, in some cases, may be related to other potentially serious conditions, including the following four.

Meniere’s disease

This relatively rare but incurable disease is hereditary and commonly results in hearing loss as well as some more serious symptoms. People with Meniere’s disease often experience periods of vertigo / loss of balance as well as maddening tinnitus. These symptoms occur because Meniere’s disease is a buildup of fluid in the inner ear. While an audiologist will be able to mitigate your hearing loss with an appropriate hearing aid, they will also be able to treat any underlying symptoms.

Paget’s disease

Paget's disease is a localized disease where bone structures can be weakened or deformed. Hearing loss is sometimes a symptom of Paget’s disease as are bone pain and stiff joints. It can cause hearing loss in a number of ways such as stretching the auditory nerve and destroying the hairs that transmit sound. An appointment with an audiologist can help to make this potentially damaging condition more manageable.

Dementia

Recently, a connection between dementia and untreated hearing loss has been discovered. When your hearing loss remains unaddressed, the part of your brain responsible for processing sound transmissions begins to function more slowly. Because of this lack of stimulation, your cognitive function begins to decline, which can lead to memory problems and conditions like dementia. Seeking treatment for your hearing loss when you first notice symptoms is the best way to lower your risk of developing a cognitive disorder later in life.

Depression

In addition to other physical health conditions, hearing loss is also associated with the development of depression. Untreated hearing loss makes it difficult to follow conversations in group settings, requires a volume increase when enjoying technology and even makes phone conversations hard to follow. Because of these issues centered around communication, individuals with hearing loss are prone to social withdrawal, making depression more prevalent.  

As you can see, even if you don’t feel that your hearing loss is all that pronounced, it makes sense to make an appointment with an audiologist!