October is National Audiology Awareness Month, and Salem Audiology Clinic and the American Academy of Audiology are encouraging the public to understand the importance of healthy hearing.
Hearing loss can be difficult to accept because it impacts your interaction with the world around you. Having untreated hearing loss can significantly detract from your everyday actions. In addition to being a separate condition, hearing loss can also be a symptom of an effect of additional comorbidities.
WHAT IS COMORBIDITY?
Comorbidity is associated with more alarming health outcomes, complicated clinical management, and increased healthcare costs.
Like other medical conditions, hearing loss can occur simultaneously with one or more comorbidities. In the U.S., hearing loss is the third most common medical condition behind heart disease and arthritis. Receiving annual health checkups is critical if you suffer from hearing loss.
Common comorbidities of hearing loss
Hearing loss can cause various health problems, both physical and mental. It may also be a sign of a more serious medical condition if it continues or gets worse. Studies show that hearing loss is linked to severe conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, clinical depression, falls among the elderly, and more.
Depression and Hearing loss
Communicating can become a struggle for someone with hearing loss, causing exhaustion and a desire to withdraw from social activities like spending time with friends and family or attending events and religious services. This difficulty in communication can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration. Studies show a strong connection between depression and hearing loss in US adults 18 and over.
Diabetes and hearing loss
Studies have shown that diabetes can cause hearing loss. In the United States, around 30 million people have diabetes, which increases blood sugar levels. If diabetes is not properly managed, it can harm the blood vessels in the ears, leading to hearing loss. Diabetes can also result in nerve damage, which can further contribute to hearing loss.
Dementia and cognitive impairment
Studies have found that people with mild hearing loss are more likely to experience cognitive problems and dementia. This happens because hearing loss can change the brain, which increases the risk of dementia. Compared to people who don’t have hearing problems, those with hearing loss are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Frequent falls among the elderly
Falls are the primary cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults, which can result in significant social, economic, health, and emotional consequences. According to the CDC, more than 25% of elderly individuals experience a fall each year. Individuals with hearing loss are less aware of their surroundings, making perceiving activities around them challenging.
Furthermore, hearing loss can reduce longitudinal alertness, making it difficult to assess the body’s position relative to nearby objects. Lastly, hearing loss can cause the brain to allocate more resources to interpreting sound and speech, leaving fewer resources for balance.
Healthy Hearing Tips
To keep your hearing healthy, it’s important to pay attention to how loud and how long you’re exposed to loud sounds. Hearing loss usually happens when the tiny sensory receptors in your inner ear, called hair cells, get damaged. This damage is often caused by loud noises and can’t be reversed. However, you can take steps to prevent it because noise-induced hearing loss is entirely avoidable. If you can’t avoid loud sounds, the best way to protect your hearing is to wear hearing protection. An audiologist can help you find the right hearing protection for you, including custom options that fit comfortably and provide high-quality sound.
The four main ways to protect your hearing are:
E – earplugs
A – avoid loud sounds
R – reduce the level of sounds
S – shorten time in loud environments
The importance of treating hearing loss
It is common for individuals to wait approximately seven years after noticing changes in their hearing before seeking assistance with a hearing aid. However, untreated hearing problems can worsen and become permanent, leading to negative consequences for physical health. It is advisable to schedule an appointment with an audiologist for a hearing test to address hearing loss. The recommended treatment option will depend on the type of hearing loss experienced. Typically, hearing aids are the most effective solution. At Salem Audi, our team of experts can guide you through finding the best hearing aid for your needs.
At Salem Audiology Clinic, we offer a comprehensive hearing evaluation and the latest hearing aid technology from some of the top brands. Contact us at
(971) 701-6322 and schedule your hearing test.