Many people just accept hearing loss as a part of growing old like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.
Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss commonly struggle more with depression, cognitive decline, and communication troubles. You may have already read about that. But one thing you may not recognize is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.
People with neglected hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it almost doubles the likelihood that they will have a tough time with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of means. More significantly, serious health issues can be found if you get a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.
What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?
Research undoubtedly reveals a link but the exact cause and effect isn’t perfectly known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues such as increased risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older individuals who had hearing loss.
When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Countless cases of tinnitus and hearing loss are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are affected by high blood pressure. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be caused by smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing impairment often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are several reasons why the two are linked: for one, the brain has to work overtime to distinguish words in a conversation, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other situations, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation resulting in anxiety and depression.
How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss
Older adults have a number of choices for managing hearing loss, but as is shown by research, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as possible before it has more extreme repercussions.
Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been improving because of hearing aid technology. For example, they enable you to hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they block out background sound better than older versions.
Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or contact their primary care physician about changes to their diet to help prevent further hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. A better diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better overall health.