Hearing Health Blog

Woman improving her life expectancy by wearing hearing aids and working out is outside on a pier.

Just like reading glasses and graying hair, 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 reveals a link between hearing loss and general health in older adults.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you may already have 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, might actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time performing activities necessary for everyday life almost doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life issue.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be managed. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help expose serious health problems and inspire you to take better care of yourself, which will increase your life expectancy.

What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?

While the research is persuasive, cause and effect are nonetheless unclear.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that older adults with hearing loss tended to have other issues, {such as} high rates of smoking, greater chance of heart disease, and stroke.

These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Many cases 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 body’s blood has to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which results in higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart troubles and hearing loss frequently experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals suspect there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain has to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which allows less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social isolation leads to anxiety and depression, which can have a severe impact on a person’s mental health.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

Older adults have a number of choices for treating hearing loss, but as is revealed by research, it is smart to tackle these concerns early before they impact your overall health.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. In addition, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they filter out background sound much better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

In order to prevent further hearing loss, older adults can consult with their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better total health.

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