Many people just accept hearing loss as a part of getting old like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.
Communication problems, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might already have read about. But one thing you might not recognize is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.
People with neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. Additionally, they found that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it just about doubles the likelihood that they will have a tough time with tasks necessary for daily living. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.
While this might sound like bad news, there is a positive spin: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be treated. More significantly, serious health problems can be uncovered if you have a hearing test which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?
Research undoubtedly shows a link but the specific cause and effect isn’t well known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues such as increased risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older individuals who had hearing loss.
These results make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are affected by high blood pressure. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart conditions and hearing loss often experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be connected according to health care professionals and hearing specialists: for one, the brain needs to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other cases, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly due to the difficulty they have communicating. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.
How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss
There are a few options available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies demonstrate, it is smart to tackle these concerns early before they affect your general health.
Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and a variety of other options are also available. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing due to hearing aid technology. For 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 visit a nutritionist or contact their physician about changes to their diet to help prevent additional hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can frequently be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better general health.