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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 simply one of those things that many people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between overall health and hearing loss.

Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss often struggle more with depression, cognitive decline, and communication problems. You may already have read about that. But one thing you might not recognize is that life expectancy can also be affected by hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with tasks 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: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of methods. More significantly, serious health issues can be revealed if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by paying more attention to your health.

Why is Poor Health Connected With Hearing Loss?

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that older adults with hearing loss tended to have other issues, {likesuch as} high rates of smoking, increased heart disease, and stroke.

These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. 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 you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be caused by smoking – the body has to work harder to push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing impairment often causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals believe there are numerous reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work overtime to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other situations, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. This social isolation causes anxiety and depression, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.

How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults

Older adults have a number of options 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 a variety of other options are also available. Additionally, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life challenges. For instance, they filter out background sound a lot better than older designs and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.

So that you can avoid further hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can often be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better total health.

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