Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of getting old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a connection between general health and hearing loss.
Communication troubles, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. You may already have read about that. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
People who have untreated hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty performing activities required for everyday life nearly doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.
While this may sound like sad news, there is a positive spin: several ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, serious health problems can be found if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?
While the research is interesting, cause and effect are still unclear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems like increased risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Countless instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be due to smoking – the body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart conditions and hearing loss frequently experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be linked according to health care professionals and hearing specialists: the brain needs to work overtime to understand conversations and words for one, which allows less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. There can be a serious impact on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.
How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults
There are a few options available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies reveal, the smartest thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more extreme consequences.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. In addition, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life issues. As an example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background noise better than older versions.
Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or consult with their physician about changes to their diet to help prevent additional hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can usually be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health conditions, leading to an overall more healthy lifestyle.