Older people may have to go through even more age-related health issues than previously imagined. Seemingly, hearing and vocal problems may be more intertwined than earlier perceived. This combination may act as an obstacle in the way of proper communication and general well-being of the elderly. At least this is what the experts from the Duke University Medical Center believe.
Earlier reports on the topic were believed to have stated that people aged 65 or above may often experience hearing loss to a certain extent. On the other hand, about one third of older adults were presumed to face vocal issues like dysphonia.
Seth Cohen, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Duke Voice Care Center, says that, “It’s important to realize these disabilities often occur concurrently. And when they do, they can increase the likelihood of depression and social isolation.”
In order to better evaluate this effect, almost 250 subjects were analyzed. The median age of these subjects was believed to be about 82.4. Seemingly, 11% of these subjects were found to suffer from both, hearing and vocal disabilities. It was further stated that the level of depression seemed to be higher in these subjects. Therefore, indicating that these disabilities may be associated with increased depression, social isolation and anxiety in the elderly.
Although these findings don’t evidently establish a concrete link between hearing loss and dysphonia, a certain connection seems to be between the two.
Cohen notes that, “When people have trouble hearing, they strain their voices to hear themselves. Likewise, people may strain their voices if their communication partners can’t hear.”
It was alleged that efficient treatments may be available for both these disabilities; therefore there was a need to assess patients with one disability for the other as well.
These findings were presented at the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society (Triological Society) in Phoenix, Cohen.