The Link Between Life Expectancy And Hearing Loss

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 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 link between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. You might already have read about that. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?

This study indicates that people with neglected hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time performing tasks required for daily life nearly doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of means. Even more importantly, getting tested can help expose major health problems and spark you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will improve your life expectancy.

Why is Hearing Loss Linked With Inferior Health?

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors with hearing loss tended to have other problems, {includingsuch as} high rates of smoking, increased heart disease, and stroke.

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless 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 body has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. Older adults who have 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 types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to be less social. There can be a severe impact on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to anxiety and depression.

How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults

There are a few options available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, it’s smart to deal with these issues early before they impact your general health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different styles of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that are Bluetooth ready. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they block out background noise better than older models.

In order to stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. 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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