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 reading glasses or gray hair. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a connection between overall health and hearing loss.

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

People with untreated hearing loss, according to this research, might actually have a reduced lifespan. What’s more, they found that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision problems it just about doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with tasks necessary for daily living. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

While this may sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, serious health problems can be revealed if you have a hearing exam which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

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

While the research is persuasive, cause and effect are still uncertain.

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

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. 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 has to work harder to push 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 linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals suspect there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain has to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to be less social. This social isolation leads to depression and anxiety, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.

How Hearing Loss Can be Managed by Older Adults

There are a number of options available to manage hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies reveal, the best thing to do is address the problem as soon as you can before it has more serious repercussions.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can work wonders in dealing with your hearing loss. There are numerous different models of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that are Bluetooth ready. What’s more, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they filter out background noise a lot better than older designs and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to let you hear better during the entertainment.

Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or talk to their doctor about changes to their diet to help prevent further hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can often be treated by adding more iron into your diet. A better diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better total health.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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