Serving the Hearing Healthcare Needs of the AK Valley Since 1958

Comorbidities Associated with Hearing Loss

a side angle shot of a woman holding her hand to her ear

One of the most common chronic health conditions affecting older people is hearing loss. Over the last couple of years, numerous studies have associated hearing loss with disabling disorders like Alzheimer's disease, clinical depression and heart diseases. These connections are termed as comorbidities; the simultaneous occurrence of multiple conditions in a patient.

Types of hearing loss and causes

Before reaching the age of 65, one out of three people will have a hearing impairment of one type or another. The three main types of hearing loss issues are sensorineural, conductive and mixed hearing loss. Your hearing loss problem can be classified as mild, moderate or severe based on its degree:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common hearing impairment problem in the world today, and it happens when the nerves in your inner ear are damaged due to aging and excessive noise. Audiologists may recommend that you use hearing aids if you have this condition.
  • Conductive hearing loss typically results from obstructions in your outer or middle ear due to tumors, earwax and fluid. It's possible for audiologists to treat this condition with medicine.
  • Mixed hearing loss occurs when people experience both sensorineural and conductive hearing loss conditions.

When you consult an audiologist, they can help assess and determine the nature of your hearing impairment and prescribe treatment for you. 

Six main comorbid conditions linked to hearing loss

There are several different conditions that are more prevalent in individuals with untreated hearing loss, including:

Social isolation & loneliness

As you age, increased social isolation can expose you to the risks of mental and physical health constraints. The coronavirus pandemic, for example, came with a lot of social isolation. Unfortunately, expert US surgeons have described social isolation as an epidemic on its own, linking it to a reduced lifespan compared to you smoking 15 packs of cigarettes every day.

One fact about hearing loss is that it increases isolation, which is bad for your emotional well-being. People with severe hearing loss conditions may stop making social connections or even quit their jobs.

Depression

When you lose your ability to enjoy pleasurable sounds like music or your lover's voice and that of your family, grief, anxiety and depression may take over your life. When you experience hearing loss, you will have to strain your ears before you can hear what the person next to you is saying, and this can be very stressful. It may lead you to develop depression and anxiety, which are considered disorders. However, when you consult audiologists, you can restore your hearing to some extent and thereby decrease your stress.

Falls

Among elderly people, falls lead to fatal and non-fatal injuries. These can also create a myriad of physical, social and economic challenges. If you consider the senior population, falls usually cause fatal consequences within the first year of injury. Hearing loss is among the key contributing factors leading to falls at home and at the workplace. Even mild hearing loss conditions triple your risks of accidental falls.

Cardiovascular diseases

The CDC says that heart disease is a major cause of death in America, killing over 600,000 men and women every year. People with cardiovascular diseases may experience a range of medical problems that impact the structure of their heart and blood vessels. 

Constricted blood vessels can lead to chest pain, heart attack and death. Research studies have associated an efficient circulatory system with healthy hearing. On the other hand, inadequate blood flow and traumatized blood vessels in the ear can cause hearing loss.

Diabetes

A high blood sugar level can harm your blood vessels, including those in your ears. If you have been diabetic for a long time without taking steps to correct the condition, diabetes can damage your ears’ blood vessels network. Unfortunately, damage to your auditory nerves as a result of diabetes can create hearing loss issues for you.

Cognitive impairment & dementia

Whether your hearing loss is severe or moderate, you are five times more likely to experience cognitive impairment and consequently, dementia. Several studies in adults have shown that hearing loss patients are more prone to Alzheimer's disease and dementia than their normal-hearing counterparts. As your hearing loss symptoms worsen, so will your risks escalate.

If you suspect that your hearing function is diminishing, pick up the phone and talk to experienced audiologists in Pennsylvania. Rametta Audiology & Hearing Aid Center will diagnose your hearing loss issue and prescribe the best treatment for you. Contact us today at Tarentum (724) 224-6811 and Vandergrift (724) 567-7381