At Audio Help Hearing Centers, we’re concerned about your overall health, not just your hearing problems. It’s important to understand that hearing loss can be a symptom of other health conditions that require a physician’s attention. Comorbidities are the presence of multiple health problems linked to each other. You may experience one or several comorbidities, especially if your hearing loss goes untreated.
Poor cardiovascular health increases your risk of hearing loss due to the decreased blood flow to your inner ear. Heart diseases negatively affect the peripheral and central auditory systems, causing low-frequency hearing loss. The connection between low-frequency hearing loss and cardiovascular disease is so apparent that those who have that type of hearing loss are encouraged to get a heart health screening. Poor blood flow also damages the blood vessels in your ears, which cannot be repaired.
You’re twice as likely to experience hearing loss if you have diabetes. Even individuals with prediabetes are more likely to develop hearing loss. High glucose levels that often accompany diabetes damage the delicate hair cells in your inner ear. The vascular effects of diabetes also harm your inner ear, resulting in irreversible sensorineural hearing loss.
Your thyroid controls hormones that regulate your heart rate, energy and hearing. So, your hearing loss may be a symptom of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. You could also have trouble hearing if you receive radiation treatment for thyroid cancer.
There is a link between hearing loss and an increased risk of depression. Do you find yourself shying away from social settings and interactions? It’s common to experience social withdrawal and decreased communication if you live with untreated hearing loss. The condition makes it difficult to engage with your loved ones, listen to music and interact with the world around you. You may experience a sense of grief as you cope with hearing loss, leading to feelings of depression and anxiety.
Cognitive Decline and Dementia
Hearing loss reduces the stimulation sent to the auditory center of your brain. That can cause your brain to atrophy and lose function. Brain inactivity is dangerous to your cognitive health, and untreated hearing loss has been linked to memory loss and dementia. Wearing hearing aids provides the auditory stimulation your brain needs. Medical research over the past several years has shown that people who wore hearing aids had a similar rate of cognitive decline as those with normal hearing.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people 65 and older. The structures in your inner ear help regulate your spatial awareness and balance. The increased cognitive load created by hearing loss affects your awareness of your surroundings, and decreased stability increases your chance of bumping into things or tripping. In fact, you’re three times more likely to fall even if you have a mild hearing loss of 25 decibels. And those odds increase as your hearing decreases.
The expert audiologists at Audio Help Hearing Centers are trained to identify the cause of your hearing loss and provide treatment recommendations to address comorbidities. Contact us online or call 888-832-9966 to schedule your appointment.