The Connection Between Life Expectancy And Hearing Loss

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

Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of aging like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a link between general health and hearing loss.

Communication problems, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. You might have already read about that. But one thing you might not recognize is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a reduced lifespan. In addition, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it just about doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with tasks necessary for day-to-day living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a positive spin: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be treated. Even more importantly, having a hearing exam can help expose major health concerns and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will improve your life expectancy.

Why is Hearing Loss Connected With Poor Health?

Research certainly reveals a connection but the specific cause and effect isn’t well known.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues including greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older individuals who had hearing loss.

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be brought on by smoking – the body’s blood has to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which brings about higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing impairment frequently causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. There are several reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing specialists: for starters, the brain needs to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which allows less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people who suffer from hearing loss to be less social. This social isolation leads to depression and anxiety, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.

How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults

There are a few solutions available to deal with hearing loss in older adults, but as is revealed by research, it is smart to tackle these issues early before they affect your total health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in combating 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 as a result of hearing aid technology. For instance, they enable you to 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.

So that you can stop 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 often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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