Much like graying hair and reading glasses, hearing loss is simply 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 total 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 know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?
People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time carrying out tasks required for everyday life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.
This might sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of means. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help uncover major health problems and spark you to take better care of yourself, which will improve your life expectancy.
What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?
While the research is compelling, cause and effect are still unclear.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues like greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older individuals who were suffering hearing loss.
When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied 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 caused by smoking – the body’s blood needs to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which brings about higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing impairment frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.
Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals believe there are numerous reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work harder to decipher conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other situations, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation causes anxiety and depression, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.
How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults
Older adults have several choices for treating hearing loss, but as is revealed by research, the smartest thing to do is deal with the problem as soon as you can before it has more severe repercussions.
Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are small discreet versions of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For instance, they filter out background sound far better than older versions and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.
So that you can avoid additional hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from their doctor or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better general health.