Just like graying hair and reading glasses, hearing loss is just one of those things that many people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.
Communication problems, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you may already have read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
People with untreated hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have a hard time with activities necessary for daily living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life issue.
This might sound bad but there’s a positive: several ways that hearing loss can be addressed. More significantly, major health issues can be discovered if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
Why is Weak Health Associated With Hearing Loss?
Research undoubtedly reveals a link but the accurate cause and effect isn’t well understood.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues such as greater risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older people who were suffering hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Many instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body’s blood has to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which results in higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing impairment often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing experts: for starters, the brain needs to work harder to differentiate words in a conversation, which allows less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to anxiety and depression.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
Older adults have a few options for managing hearing loss, but as the studies reveal, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more severe repercussions.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can work wonders in dealing with your hearing loss. There are numerous different models of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing due to hearing aid technology. For instance, they filter out background noise a lot better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.
Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or contact their doctor about changes to their diet to help counter additional hearing loss. 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 conditions and help you have better general health.