Many people just accept hearing loss as a part of growing old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between overall health and hearing loss.
Communication problems, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you may have already read about. But did you realize that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?
People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a reduced lifespan. Additionally, they found that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision problems it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have a hard time with tasks necessary for daily living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of means. More significantly, serious health problems can be revealed if you get a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
Why is Weak Health Associated With Hearing Loss?
While the research is persuasive, cause and effect are nonetheless uncertain.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems such as greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
These results make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Many cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be brought on by smoking – the body has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart conditions and hearing loss often experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals suspect there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: for starters, the brain has to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other cases, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation resulting in anxiety and depression.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
There are several solutions available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, the smartest thing to do is deal with the issue as soon as possible before it has more extreme repercussions.
Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different models of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that are Bluetooth ready. In addition, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they filter out background sound a lot better than older designs and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.
In order to avoid 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 example, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health issues, leading to an overall more healthy lifestyle.