Did you know that hearing loss and vision decline sometimes go hand-in-hand? According to research, this is especially true in older people. Moreover, scientists have found that the connection works both ways. That means that either of these conditions may predict the onset of the other one.
What the Research Shows
In 2006, a study found that many people with impaired vision also suffer from hearing loss. According to the findings, 65% of people who scored lower on the standard vision test were also more likely to suffer from hearing loss. In fact, for every line on the test that they couldn’t read, the risk of hearing loss would increase by 18%.
Another study in 2012 came to very similar findings. The authors expected only 0.7% of participants to suffer from both hearing loss and vision decline. But to their surprise, the two impairments co-existed in four times as many people. This led them to conclude that there is a link between hearing loss and vision decline.
Understanding the Connection
The authors couldn’t find the exact reasons why the two conditions tend to co-exist. Because they’re often the result of aging, the link between hearing loss and vision decline may be incidental.
But they also share many of the same risk factors. Genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors can make people prone to both conditions. Furthermore, hearing loss and vision decline can both be the result of other chronic conditions like diabetes.
The researchers don’t claim that one condition causes another. But on their own, both can result in gradual brain decline. Over time, this could contribute to further sensory impairment.
Most often, this will happen if a person doesn’t treat the symptoms. So, if you have hearing loss, you should either use hearing aids or get a cochlear implant. Also, keep in mind that both hearing loss and vision decline have some common risk factors. You thus need to avoid smoking, control your blood pressure, and keep your weight in check.