Just like graying hair and reading glasses, hearing loss is just one of those things that many people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between total health and hearing loss.
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 did you realize that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty performing activities required for daily life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.
While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older adults, can be treated through a variety of means. More significantly, serious health problems can be revealed 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 interesting, cause and effect are nonetheless not clear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems like increased risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older individuals who had hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be caused by smoking – the body’s blood needs to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which results in higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals think there are several reasons why the two are connected: the brain needs to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other circumstances, lots of people with hearing loss tend to be less social, usually because of the difficulty they have communicating. This social separation causes anxiety and depression, which can have an extreme 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 show, it’s best to tackle these issues early before they affect your general health.
Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. In addition, hearing aid technology has been improving 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 filter 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 additional hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health conditions, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.