The Link Between Hearing Loss And Life Expectancy

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 gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.

Communication problems, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might already have read about. But one thing you might not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty carrying out activities necessary for everyday life nearly 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: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of means. Even more importantly, getting tested can help reveal serious health problems and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.

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

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

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

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Many instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be caused by smoking – the body has to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals think there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: the brain needs to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s capacity 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 resulting in depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

Older adults have several choices for managing hearing loss, but as the studies reveal, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as possible before it has more severe repercussions.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can work wonders in dealing with your hearing loss. There are several different styles of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life challenges. For instance, they filter out background noise far better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.

In order to stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better overall health.

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.