Many 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 shows a connection between general health and hearing loss.
Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss often struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication troubles. That’s something you may have already read about. But one thing you may not recognize is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.
This research suggests that people with neglected hearing loss might enjoy “fewer years of life”. In addition, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it almost doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.
This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older adults, can be managed through a variety of methods. More significantly, major health issues can be revealed if you get a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.
What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?
Research undoubtedly shows a link but the accurate cause and effect isn’t well known.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems such as increased risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older people who had hearing loss.
When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be due to smoking – the blood in the body has to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which produces higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart conditions and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.
Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be linked according to health care professionals and hearing specialists: the brain has to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other circumstances, difficulty communicating causes people who suffer from hearing loss to be less social. There can be a serious impact on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.
How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults
There are several solutions available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as is revealed by research, the best thing to do is address the problem as soon as possible before it has more serious repercussions.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different models of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. As an example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background noise better than older models.
Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or contact their doctor about changes to their diet to help stop additional 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. A better diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better total health.