Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of getting old like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a link between total health and hearing loss.
Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might already have read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
This research indicates that individuals with untreated hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the possibility that they will have a hard time performing activities necessary for everyday life almost doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life problem.
While this may sound like bad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older adults, can be managed through a variety of methods. More significantly, major health issues can be uncovered if you get a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
Why is Hearing Loss Linked With Inferior Health?
Research definitely reveals a connection but the accurate cause and effect isn’t perfectly known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems like greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Many cases 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 you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be caused by smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart troubles and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be connected according to health professionals and hearing specialists: the brain has to work harder to decipher conversations and words for one, which leaves less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation causes depression and anxiety, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.
How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults
There are several solutions available to deal with hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, it is best to deal with these concerns early before they impact 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. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life issues. For instance, they block out background noise far better than older designs and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.
Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or contact their primary care physician about changes to their diet to help stop further hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by adding more iron into your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better general health.