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 total health in older adults.
Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss frequently struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication troubles. You might have already read about that. But one thing you might not recognize is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.
This research shows that those with neglected hearing loss might enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty undertaking tasks required for everyday life nearly doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of means. More significantly, major health problems can be found if you have a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.
What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?
While the research is persuasive, cause and effect are still unclear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues including increased risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
These findings make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Many instances 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 the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be due to smoking – the blood in the body has to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which leads to higher blood pressure. Older adults who have heart problems and hearing loss often experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals suspect there are several reasons why the two are connected: for starters, the brain has to work overtime to differentiate words in a conversation, which saps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to be less social. This social isolation leads to anxiety and depression, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.
How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss
Older adults have a number of options for managing hearing loss, but as the studies reveal, it is smart to tackle these concerns early before they affect your general health.
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, discreet models that connect with Bluetooth technology. In addition, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they block out background noise better than older models.
In order to stop 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 example, which can often be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.