Hearing loss is part of the bigger picture of your health and wellbeing. When you think about your hearing ability, you might not immediately think about systems such as cardiovascular health or cognitive functioning, but these aspects of the body and mind are closely interwoven. Experts tend not to think only about direct relationships in the body but also indirect relationships that are better understood as mechanisms. These chains of cause and effect make it possible for one part of the body to affect another through complex pathways. Let’s take a closer look at some of the ways that getting treatment for hearing loss can help prevent other health issues. In the first place, diagnosing hearing loss can clue in your healthcare providers to risks they might not know about. Beyond the diagnostic process, getting treatment for hearing loss can actually prevent many other health issues. Let’s consider these two dynamics and how your health can be improved through hearing loss diagnosis and treatment.
Diagnosis and Comorbidities
Many health experts use population data to think about comorbidities. This term refers to the likelihood that two conditions exist at the same time. When one condition is present, it can signal other underlying problems in the body, sometimes in terms of a third undiagnosed factor. Getting a diagnosis of hearing loss can help your primary care physician become alert to other possible issues. For instance, those who have hearing loss are at much higher risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It may be the case that a preexisting condition of heart disease or diabetes depletes the flow of oxygen to the ears, causing damage. If this is the case, then a diagnosis of hearing loss can tip off your doctor to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes. If your hearing test returns the news that you have loss, you should communicate this result to your primary care doctor, as well.
Treatment and Prevention
Once you find out that you have hearing loss, getting treatment is an important way to prevent other health concerns for the body and mind. In the first place, those who have untreated hearing loss are at a higher risk of accidents and injuries. It seems that we use our ears to alert ourselves to danger and to orient in space, making these events more common when hearing loss is untreated. Similarly, those who have untreated hearing loss are more likely to have return visits to the hospital than their counterparts who do not have hearing loss. Communication is crucial to the healthcare process, and hearing aids can make it possible to fill in those gaps. When it comes to mental health, untreated hearing loss is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and other relationship-based problems. Improving communication ability through treatment is a great way to relieve some of these mental symptoms, including the general sense of fatigue that associates communication. One of the strongest comorbidities with untreated hearing loss is dementia, and treatment does significant work to reduce that increased likelihood. The use of language works like brain exercise to keep it functioning fluidly. However, when the brain does not get the exercise it needs through communication, including hearing language, dementia becomes much more likely. Getting treatment for hearing loss is a great way to reduce that risk of dementia compared with those who do not get treatment.
If you are concerned about the possible relationships between hearing loss and other health problems, the first step is to get a hearing test. That diagnostic exam will let us know if you have problems with hearing and whether treatment is right for you. Getting treatment can help your general health and wellbeing, so will recommend an appropriate range of hearing aids for your individual needs. Don’t put off getting your hearing test and seeking treatment, if necessary. Those who avoid getting help are setting themselves up for worse health outcomes down the road, but treatment can step in and solve some of those comorbidities and mechanisms between hearing, the body, and the mind. Make the call today to set up your appointment for a hearing test!