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

Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of growing old like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.

Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss often struggle more with depression, cognitive decline, and communication problems. That’s something you might have already read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this research, may actually have a shorter lifespan. And, the possibility that they will have difficulty undertaking tasks needed for daily life almost doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older adults, can be treated through a variety of methods. More significantly, serious health problems can be discovered if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.

Why is Hearing Loss Associated With Weak Health?

While the research is interesting, cause and effect are still unclear.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors with hearing loss tended to have other problems, {such assuch as} high rates of smoking, greater chance of heart disease, and stroke.

These findings make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Countless cases of tinnitus and hearing loss 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 has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing impairment frequently causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing specialists: for starters, the brain has to work overtime to distinguish words in a conversation, which leaves less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation causes anxiety and depression, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

There are a few solutions available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies reveal, the best thing to do is deal with the issue as soon as possible before it has more extreme consequences.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can be very effective in combating your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that are Bluetooth ready. In addition, hearing aid technology has been maximizing basic quality-of-life challenges. As an example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background sound better than older models.

Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or consult with their doctor about changes to their diet to help prevent additional hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better general health.

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