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

Much like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is just one of those things that most people accept as a part of the aging process. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between total health and hearing loss.

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

This research indicates that people with neglected hearing loss might enjoy “fewer years of life”. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it just about doubles the probability that they will have a tough time with activities necessary for daily living. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be addressed. More significantly, serious health problems can be uncovered if you have a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.

Why is Weak Health Connected With Hearing Loss?

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that older adults with hearing loss had a tendency 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. Many instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are linked to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart problems and hearing loss often experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals believe there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: for starters, the brain needs to work harder to differentiate words in a conversation, which leaves less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, usually as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be an extreme impact on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to anxiety and depression.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have a few choices for managing hearing loss, but as the studies reveal, the best thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more severe repercussions.

Hearing aids are one type 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. Also, basic quality of life has been improving as a result of hearing aid technology. For instance, they block out background sound much better than older versions and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better 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 stop additional hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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