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

Just 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 reveals a connection between hearing loss and total 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 already have read about. But did you realize that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?

This study shows that individuals with neglected hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. Additionally, they found that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it almost doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with activities necessary for daily living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life issue.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a positive spin: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of methods. More significantly, serious health problems can be discovered if you get a hearing test which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

What’s The Link Between Hearing Loss And Poor Health?

Research undoubtedly shows a connection but the accurate cause and effect isn’t well known.

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

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be caused by smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing impairment frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing experts: for one, the brain needs to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which leaves less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other cases, lots of people with hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly because of the difficulty they have communicating. This social separation causes depression and anxiety, which can have a major impact on a person’s mental health.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have a number of options for managing hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more extreme consequences.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that are Bluetooth ready. What’s more, hearing aid technology has been maximizing basic quality-of-life issues. For instance, they filter out background sound far better than older designs and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

So that you can stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult with their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better overall health.

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