Hearing Associates of Libertyville, IL

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 hearing loss and total health in older adults.

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

This study shows that people with neglected hearing loss might enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the possibility that they will have difficulty undertaking activities necessary for daily life nearly 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 may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of methods. More significantly, major health problems can be found if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?

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

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

These findings make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Many 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 caused by smoking – the body’s blood needs to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which produces higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart troubles 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 Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, 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 has to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which allows less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other cases, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe impact on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

There are a number of options available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as is revealed by research, the smartest thing to do is deal with the issue as soon as possible before it has more serious consequences.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. In addition, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For instance, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background sound better than older models.

In order to avoid further hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from 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. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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