Just like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is simply one of those things that most people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a link between general health and hearing loss.
Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss commonly struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication problems. That’s something you may already have read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?
People with neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time undertaking tasks needed 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 concern.
This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of methods. Even more significantly, getting tested can help expose major health issues and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.
What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?
Research undoubtedly reveals a connection but the specific cause and effect isn’t well known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues like increased risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who had hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart conditions and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are several reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing experts: the brain has to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation leads to depression and anxiety, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
Older adults have several choices for managing hearing loss, but as the studies show, it is smart to deal with these concerns early before they impact your total health.
Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and a variety of other options are also available. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life issues. 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 filter out background noise better than older models.
Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or contact their primary care physician about changes to their diet to help counter further hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better general health.