One would not say that hearing loss can be categorized together with other diseases like diabetes, arthritis, and asthma. However, hearing loss can be classified as a chronic disease, due to its possible long-lasting and permanent influence on your health.
Having a hearing loss, left untreated, is associated with a lot of comorbid conditions, and can influence your health in many more ways than you might think:
- Mental health problems such as social isolation, depression, anger, loneliness, and a lack of focus. Individuals with hearing loss have the tendency to socially isolate themselves, which in turn may lead to depression, anger and being lonely.
- Cognitive health problems such as cognitive impairment and dementia. Recent research suggests that individuals with hearing loss experience a quicker decline in cognitive abilities as they age than individuals with normal hearing. The decline in cognitive ability may lead to dementia.
- Physical health problems such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, balance problems and gut health issues. Having a hearing loss puts one at risk of developing a cardiovascular disease (Friedland, Cederberg & Tarima, 2009), balance problems and or gut health issues. Whereas having a disease like diabetes puts one at risk of developing a hearing loss.
Although all these health issues seem like a lot, there is hope. When a hearing loss is identified, and amplification is provided in the early stages, these comorbid conditions and health related issues can be prevented, or the effects can be lessened.
Too often people wait as long as a decade to identify and treat hearing loss, making it more likely to develop the abovementioned health problems.
Don’t wait too long! Visit your nearest Audiologist for a free hearing screening and advice on any possible concerns on your hearing.
Abrams, H. (2017). Hearing Loss and Associated Comorbidities: What Do We Know?. Hearing Review, 24(12), 32-35.
Anderson, S. (2019). Neural and Cognitive Benefits of Hearing Aid Use. The Hearing Journal, 72(3), 10. doi: 10.1097/01.hj.0000554350.61446.37
Care, C. (2021). These 4 Side Effects of Hearing Loss Will Surprise You. Retrieved 1 April 2021, from https://www.carsonhearing.com/hearing-loss-articles/these-4-side-effects-of-hearing-loss-will-surprise-you/
Friedland, D., Cederberg, C., & Tarima, S. (2009). Audiometric pattern as a predictor of cardiovascular status: Development of a model for assessment of risk. The Laryngoscope, 119(3), 473-486. doi: 10.1002/lary.20130