Woman improving her life expectancy by wearing hearing aids and working out is outside on a pier.

Much like graying hair and reading glasses, hearing loss is simply one of those things that many people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

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

People with neglected hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the possibility that they will have a hard time performing activities required for everyday life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: several ways that hearing loss can be treated. Even more importantly, having a hearing exam can help uncover serious health issues and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.

Why is Weak Health Linked With Hearing Loss?

Research undoubtedly shows a link but the accurate cause and effect isn’t perfectly known.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues like 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. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals suspect there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work overtime to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people who suffer from hearing loss to socialize less. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation resulting in depression and anxiety.

How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults

Older adults have a few choices for treating hearing loss, but as is shown by research, it’s best to deal with these concerns early before they impact your general health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are small discreet versions of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. In addition, hearing aid technology has been maximizing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they block out background noise much better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.

Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or talk to their physician about changes to their diet to help prevent further hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better general health.

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