Comorbidities and the Effects Of Untreated Hearing Loss

Hearing loss is a condition that can be easy to miss; it often occurs gradually and you may not even notice the decline. However, allowing hearing loss to remain untreated can lead to a number of other physical health conditions, from dementia to cardiovascular issues.

What are comorbidities?

When two or more chronic diseases afflict a single patient, then it is known as comorbidity. Even if one illness comes after the other, it is still classified as comorbidity. The real issue is that one chronic condition has a high chance of worsening the other if they interact. When this happens, comorbidities make it more difficult for professionals to prescribe treatment. Comorbidity covers both mental and physical disorders. A good example of mental comorbidity is social anxiety disorder simultaneously existing with major depressive disorder. They are two chronic mental illnesses that feed off one another, and as a result, makes the mental disorder much more dangerous.

Why does loss of hearing matter?

Hearing loss can be associated with mental and physical disorders. Comorbidities that contains worsening hearing loss symptoms is a sign of declining health in multiple areas. Tinnitus is sometimes related to a head or neck injury. Cancer patients that are on heavy medication may develop tinnitus as a side effect. Cardiovascular disease, thyroid disease and diabetes and even have clear links to hearing loss.

Hearing loss and dementia

Your brain plays an essential role in the hearing process. When sound enters the ears, it is sent through the proper channels and is then transmitted by the brain. If you have hearing loss, your brain often misses out on some of these cues. When left untreated, your brain begins to lose frequent stimulation, which can impair your cognitive ability and even lead to a greater risk of developing dementia.

Treating hearing loss

What starts out as normal hearing loss can become something much worse if it is left untreated. This is why a full case history is required for a hearing evaluation. The information gained from the tests will aid primary doctors when a more serious condition is found. Mental disorders like depression take on extreme side effects when paired with hearing loss. Patients that are depressed and feeling isolated will feel worse if they have trouble communicating. Hearing loss and depression is a critical problem that leads to anxiety.

Think of comorbidities as a domino effect of chronic conditions. Quality Hearing Aid Center takes the time to make an accurate diagnosis of hearing loss and how it affects other conditions. Having comorbidities is not the end of the world if patients don’t ignore symptoms.