May is Better Speech and Hearing Month. As part of its outreach for Better Hearing and Speech Month, the Better Hearing Institute (BHI) is providing this list of 10 things you should know about how hearing loss can affect other aspects of your health:
1. Hearing loss is tied to depression. Hearing loss has been associated with an increased risk of depression in adults of all ages.
2. Hearing loss and dementia are linked. A Johns Hopkins study of older adults found that hearing loss actually accelerates brain function decline. Some experts believe that hearing aids could potentially delay or prevent dementia.
3. Hearing loss is more common in people with diabetes. Studies show that people with diabetes are twice as likely to have hearing loss.
4. Hearing health and heart health are linked. Some experts say the inner ear is so sensitive to blood flow that abnormalities in the cardiovascular system could be noted here earlier than in other less sensitive parts of the body.
5. Fitness may help your hearing. Higher levels of physical activity have been associated with a lower risk of hearing loss.
6. Hearing loss may put you at risk of falling. Studies show that people (aged 40 to 69) with even mild hearing loss are more likely to have a history of falling.
7. Hospitalization may be more likely for those with hearing loss.
8. The risk of dying may be higher for older men with hearing loss. Men with hearing loss were found to have an increased risk of mortality, but hearing aids made a difference.
9. Common pain relievers may cause hearing loss. Regular use of aspirin, NSAIDs, or acetaminophen has been associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
10. Kidney disease is linked to hearing loss. Research has shown moderate chronic kidney disease to be associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.
The Better Hearing Institute (www.betterhearing.org) reports that recognizing and treating hearing loss may help more than just your hearing. BHI is working to raise awareness of the link between hearing loss and other important health issues. As part of its awareness and outreach efforts, BHI is encouraging adults of all ages to take the free, quick, and confidential online hearing check on its website. http://www.betterhearing.org/check-your-hearing Anyone can take the online survey to determine if a comprehensive hearing test by a hearing health professional is needed as a next step.
More details on these findings, along with other hearing health information, is available on the Better Hearing Institute website www.betterhearing.org