The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Life Expectancy

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 aging like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a link between overall health and hearing loss.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might have already read about. But did you realize that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?

This study suggests that individuals with untreated hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty carrying out activities required for daily life almost 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 treated. More significantly, serious health problems can be uncovered if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Hearing Loss Connected With Weak Health?

While the research is compelling, cause and effect are nonetheless not clear.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors 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. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be a consequence of smoking – the blood in the body has to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which brings about higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart conditions and hearing loss often experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be linked according to health care professionals and hearing specialists: the brain has to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which leaves less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have several choices for managing hearing loss, but as is revealed by research, it is smart to deal with these issues early before they impact your total health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in combating your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been maximizing basic quality-of-life challenges. As an example, they enable you to hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they block out background sound better than older versions.

So that you can stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult with their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually 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.