Many people just accept hearing loss as a part of aging like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a link between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.
Communication troubles, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might have already read about. But did you realize that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?
People who have untreated hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a shorter lifespan. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision problems it almost doubles the probability that they will have a hard time with tasks necessary for day-to-day living. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.
This may sound bad but there’s a positive: several ways that hearing loss can be treated. More significantly, major health problems can be discovered if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
Why is Hearing Loss Associated With Weak Health?
Research definitely reveals a link but the exact cause and effect isn’t perfectly known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems such as greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who had hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals suspect there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: for one, the brain has to work overtime to differentiate words in a conversation, which allows less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to be less social. There can be an extreme impact on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
Older adults have a number of options for managing hearing loss, but as is shown by research, the best thing to do is address the problem as soon as you can before it has more serious consequences.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they block out background sound a lot better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.
In order to avoid further hearing loss, older adults can consult their doctor or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health conditions, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.