Much like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is simply one of those things that most people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.
Communication troubles, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. You may already have read about that. But did you realize that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
This research shows that those with untreated hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision impairments it almost doubles the probability that they will have a hard time with tasks necessary for day-to-day living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
This might sound bad but there’s a positive: several ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, serious health concerns can be discovered if you have a hearing test which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.
What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?
While the research is persuasive, cause and effect are still unclear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems such as increased risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older individuals who were suffering hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Many instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be due to smoking – the blood in the body needs to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which results in higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be connected according to health care professionals and hearing experts: the brain has to work harder to decipher conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation causes depression and anxiety, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.
How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults
Older adults have several choices for treating hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, the smartest thing to do is deal with the problem as soon as possible before it has more severe repercussions.
Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are small discreet versions of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing due to hearing aid technology. For example, they block out background sound far better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.
So that you can stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult with their doctor 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 impact other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.