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

Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of growing old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a link between overall health and hearing loss.

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

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a shorter lifespan. What’s more, they found that if untreated hearing loss happened with vision problems it almost doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older adults, can be managed through a variety of means. Even more importantly, having a hearing exam can help expose major health problems and spark you to take better care of yourself, which will increase your life expectancy.

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

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that other issues including greater risk of stroke and heart disease were seen in older people who were suffering hearing loss.

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Countless 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 the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing loss often causes them to hear a whooshing sound in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are numerous reasons for the two to be connected according to health care professionals and hearing experts: the brain needs to work overtime to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other situations, lots of people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently because 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 Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults

There are several solutions available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, the best thing to do is deal with 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 several different styles of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been improving due to hearing aid technology. For instance, they filter out background sound much better than older versions 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 counter additional hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better overall health.

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