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

Just like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is just one of those things that most people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a link between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

Communication problems, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. You may have already read about that. But one thing you might not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. Additionally, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have a tough time with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: several ways that hearing loss can be managed. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help uncover serious health problems and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will improve your life expectancy.

Why is Weak Health Linked With Hearing Loss?

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors with hearing loss had a tendency to have other problems, {includingsuch as} high rates of smoking, increased heart disease, and stroke.

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are affected by high blood pressure. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be brought on by smoking – the body’s blood has to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which results in higher 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 Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: for one, the brain needs to work overtime to differentiate words in a conversation, which leaves less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, difficulty communicating causes people who suffer from hearing loss to be less social. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social separation resulting in depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

There are a number of solutions available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies demonstrate, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more serious consequences.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are small discreet versions of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing as a result of hearing aid technology. For example, they filter out background noise far better than older versions and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or talk to their primary care physician about changes to their diet to help counter additional hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health issues, leading to an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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