It’s common knowledge by now that there’s a correlation between hearing loss and its direct negative
impact on one’s overall health. Communication troubles, isolation, depression, fatigue, risk of falls and
cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in seniors with hearing loss. That’s something you may have
already read about. But one thing you might not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be reduced
by not treating hearing loss. One simple solution to increasing your longevity is hearing aids.
Hearing loss is experienced by 26.7 million Americans over the age of 50, however, only one in seven
use hearing aids. About one-third of U.S. adults aged 65 to 74 suffer from some form of hearing loss.
Medicare and most health insurance providers still treat hearing loss as a normal part of aging, not a
medical problem, and don’t cover the costs of hearing aids or even routine hearing tests. That’s why an
average pair of hearing aids can set you back over $3,500.
But about a decade ago, scientists began focusing more on the potential harms of hearing loss as well as
loneliness. Before long, it became clear that both conditions had enormous medical consequences with
ramifications that could lead to other medical disorders.
A study published last year in JAMA Otolaryngology found that loneliness is associated with high blood
pressure, elevated stress and weakened immune systems. Their research found that these feelings of
isolation also raise the risk of dementia by 40% and the odds of early death by 26%.
Meanwhile, untreated hearing loss increases the risk of dementia by 50%, depression by 40% and falls
by 30%. The study found that people wearing hearing aids could delay the onset of dementia and
Research conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the National Institute on Aging
concluded that hearing loss is a key factor in falls, and mild hearing loss can result in someone being
three times as likely to fall. Because the effects of hearing loss are directly impacting your spatial
awareness, your posture and body control, a better hearing ability will reduce your chances of falling.
It also shows that those with a hearing impairment have poorer balance, weaker walking endurance,
and faster declines in physical function over time compared to those with normal hearing. The worse
the person’s hearing, the worse the physical function. The study continues. “Collectively, these findings
suggest that individuals with hearing impairment may be at greater risk for physical function
limitations.” Simply put, hearing aids reduce the risk of falls and will slow overall physical decline.
In addition, the researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other problems including a greater risk of stroke
and heart disease were seen in older people who had hearing loss. When you understand what the
causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Many cases of hearing loss are tied to heart
disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken
blood vessels, the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood
In a difficult or stressful situation, if you are not able to hear warnings to avoid imminent danger, like
oncoming traffic, you are likely to have a higher risk of injury or accident. Therefore, hearing better can
reduce your chances of hospitalization. Results published in the journal of the American Medical
Association paper concluded that people with mild hearing loss or greater were more likely to be
hospitalized compared to individuals with normal hearing.
In summary, hearing loss will increase your risk of isolation, which may lead to mental health issues such
as cognitive decline, dementia and Alzheimer’s, leading to other life-threatening diseases like balance
disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a higher risk of hospitalization, hence reducing your
overall life span. Unfortunately, hearing loss is a degenerative condition, where it deteriorates, if not
maintained, the downward spiral that can occur with hearing loss means that these comorbidities are
possibly amplified, if not accelerated.
There are several solutions available to manage hearing loss, but as shown by research, it’s best to deal
with these issues early before they affect and degrade your general health. Hearing aids are one of the
simplest forms of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss.
There is hope. A small study even found that wearing hearing aids “may reverse compensatory changes
in cortical resource allocation”—in other words, negative changes in your brain may improve with
consistent hearing aid use. Brain shrinkage may slow or stop, and your brain may begin to pick up on
sound signals once more.
Everyone wants to lead a healthy, happy and longer life by eating right and exercising. However, your
hearing health also plays a crucial factor in helping you live your best life. Let RxHearing’s services and
solution be an answer to your hearing needs.