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

Many 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 demonstrates a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.

Communication problems, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might already have read about. But one thing you might not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a shorter lifespan. What’s more, they found that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have a hard time with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life problem.

While this might sound like bad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older people, can be managed through a variety of means. Even more importantly, getting tested can help expose major health problems and spark you to take better care of yourself, which will improve your life expectancy.

What’s The Connection Between Hearing Loss And Weak Health?

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

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

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are linked to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body has to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have 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 types of cognitive decline. There are several reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing specialists: for one, the brain has to work harder to distinguish words in a conversation, which allows less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, lots of people with hearing loss tend to be less social, usually due to 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 few options for managing hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, the smartest thing to do is deal with the problem as soon as possible before it has more extreme repercussions.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are several different styles of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been improving because of hearing aid technology. For instance, they filter out background sound far better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.

In order to stop additional hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from their doctor or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can often be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health conditions, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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