Many 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 connection between total health and hearing loss.
Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might have already read about. But one thing you might not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.
People who have untreated hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the possibility that they will have a hard time carrying out tasks needed for everyday life almost doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.
While this might sound like bad news, there is a positive spin: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of means. More significantly, major health problems can be found if you have 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 Weak Health?
While the research is compelling, cause and effect are nonetheless uncertain.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues like greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who had hearing loss.
These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Countless cases of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body has to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing loss frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals suspect there are numerous reasons why the two are linked: for one, the brain needs to work overtime to distinguish words in a conversation, which allows less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently due to the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe impact 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 several choices for treating hearing loss, but as is revealed by research, the smartest thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more serious repercussions.
Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been improving because of hearing aid technology. For example, they filter out background noise far better than older versions and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.
Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or contact their doctor about changes to their diet to help stop additional hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health conditions, leading to an overall more healthy lifestyle.