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 the aging process. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between overall health and hearing loss.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might already have read about. But did you realize that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?

People who have untreated hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a shorter lifespan. What’s more, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it almost doubles the probability that they will have a tough time with tasks necessary for day-to-day living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

While this may sound like sad news, there is a positive spin: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be managed. Even more significantly, getting tested can help reveal major health concerns and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will improve your life expectancy.

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

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

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

These results make sense when you understand more about the causes of hearing loss. Many cases of hearing loss and tinnitus 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’s blood has to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which brings about higher blood pressure. Older adults who have heart problems and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other types of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are numerous reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work harder to decipher conversations and words for one, which leaves less mental ability to actually process the words or do anything else. In other situations, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, usually because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a serious impact on a person’s mental health from social separation resulting in anxiety and depression.

How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults

Older adults have a number of choices for treating hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, the smartest thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more serious repercussions.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and a variety of other options are also available. In addition, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they filter out background noise a lot better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or contact their doctor 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 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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