Just like graying hair and reading glasses, hearing loss is simply one of those things that many people accept as a part of the aging process. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between hearing loss and total health in older adults.
Communication problems, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. You might already have read about that. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
People with untreated hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time carrying out tasks required for everyday life almost doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.
While this may sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of methods. More significantly, serious health problems can be found if you have a hearing test which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.
What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?
Research definitely shows a link but the accurate cause and effect isn’t perfectly understood.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues including greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older individuals who were suffering hearing loss.
These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Many instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be brought on by smoking – the body has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing experts: the brain has to work harder to decipher conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other circumstances, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly due to the difficulty they have communicating. This social separation causes depression and anxiety, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
There are a number of options available to deal with hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies reveal, it’s best to tackle these concerns early before they impact your overall health.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that are Bluetooth ready. What’s more, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For instance, they filter out background sound far 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 prevent further hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by adding more iron into your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better total health.