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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 many people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

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

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. In addition, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it just about doubles the probability that they will have difficulty with tasks necessary for day-to-day living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life issue.

This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older adults, can be managed through a variety of means. More significantly, major health problems can be uncovered if you have a hearing test which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Poor Health Linked With Hearing Loss?

Research undoubtedly shows a connection but the exact cause and effect isn’t well understood.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues including greater risk of stroke and heart disease were observed in older individuals who had hearing loss.

These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Countless instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted by high blood pressure. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be caused by smoking – the body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing loss frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be connected according to health professionals and hearing specialists: the brain has to work overtime to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other circumstances, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

Older adults have several choices for treating hearing loss, but as the studies show, it’s smart to tackle these concerns early before they impact your general health.

Hearing aids are one kind 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. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing due to hearing aid technology. For example, they enable you to hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background noise better than older versions.

In order to prevent additional hearing loss, older adults can consult their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can usually 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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