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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 aging like reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between hearing loss and general health in older adults.

Communication troubles, cognitive decline, and depression have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. You may already have read about that. But did you realize that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the possibility that they will have a hard time performing tasks required for daily life almost doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

This may sound bad but there’s a positive: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be addressed. More significantly, serious health concerns can be found if you get a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Weak Health Linked With Hearing Loss?

Research certainly reveals a link but the specific cause and effect isn’t perfectly understood.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors with hearing loss tended to have other issues, {such 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 tinnitus and hearing loss are tied 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 due to smoking – the body’s blood needs to work harder to keep the ears (and everything else) working which leads to higher blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing impairment frequently causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals believe there are several reasons why the two are linked: for one, the brain has to work overtime to differentiate words in a conversation, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other circumstances, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be an extreme affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to anxiety and depression.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have several options for treating hearing loss, but as is revealed by research, it’s smart to tackle these issues early before they affect your total health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in fighting 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 improving because of hearing aid technology. For instance, 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 sound better than older versions.

In order to avoid additional hearing loss, older adults can consult their physician 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. A better diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better overall health.

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