Most 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 shows a link between total health and hearing loss.
Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss frequently struggle more with depression, cognitive decline, and communication problems. That’s something you may have already read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?
People with untreated hearing loss, according to this research, may actually have a reduced lifespan. Additionally, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision impairments it nearly doubles the probability that they will have a hard time with activities necessary for daily living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life problem.
While this might sound like bad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older adults, can be treated through a variety of methods. Even more importantly, having a hearing exam can help reveal serious health issues and inspire you to take better care of yourself, which will improve your life expectancy.
Why is Hearing Loss Linked With Weak Health?
Research definitely shows a connection but the accurate cause and effect isn’t well known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems like increased risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
These results 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 brought on by smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. Older adults with heart problems and hearing loss frequently experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals believe there are several reasons why the two are linked: for starters, the brain has to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which leaves less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a serious affect on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.
How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss
There are a number of options available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as is revealed by research, it is smart to tackle these issues early before they impact your overall health.
Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are numerous different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing as a result of hearing aid technology. For example, they filter out background sound much better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.
In order to stop additional 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 increasing the iron content in your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better total health.