Hearing Health Blog

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

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 demonstrates a link between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss commonly struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication problems. That’s something you may already have read about. But one thing you might not recognize is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.

This research shows that individuals with untreated hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time carrying out tasks necessary for daily life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: several ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, serious health problems can be found if you get a hearing test which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Hearing Loss Connected With Weak Health?

While the research is interesting, cause and effect are still uncertain.

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

These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Many instances of hearing loss and tinnitus 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 caused by smoking – the blood in the body needs to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which results in higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart problems and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals believe there are several reasons why the two are linked: for starters, the brain needs to work overtime to distinguish words in a conversation, which saps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other situations, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently due to the difficulty they have communicating. 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 a number of choices for treating hearing loss, but as is shown by research, it is smart to tackle these issues early before they affect your overall health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. Also, basic quality of life has been improving due to hearing aid technology. For example, they filter out background noise far better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.

Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or consult with their doctor about changes to their diet to help counter further hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, 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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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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