Many people just accept hearing loss as a part of getting old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a link between general health and hearing loss.
Communication troubles, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. You may already have read about that. But did you know that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?
People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time performing activities necessary for everyday life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
While this may sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: several ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, major health problems can be found if you get a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.
Why is Hearing Loss Connected With Poor Health?
While the research is compelling, cause and effect are still unclear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues like greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless cases of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied 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 body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing sound 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 think there are numerous reasons why the two are linked: the brain has to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other circumstances, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, usually because of the difficulty they have communicating. This social isolation leads to depression and anxiety, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.
How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss
There are a number of options available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies demonstrate, the best thing to do is deal with the issue as soon as possible before it has more extreme consequences.
Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are several 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. As an 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 models.
So that you can prevent further hearing loss, older adults can consult with their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better general health.