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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 reveals a connection between total 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 one thing you may not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.

This study indicates that people with untreated hearing loss might enjoy “fewer years of life”. What’s more, they found that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it almost doubles the likelihood that they will have difficulty with tasks necessary for daily living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.

While this might sound like bad news, there is a positive spin: several ways that hearing loss can be addressed. More significantly, serious health concerns can be found if you get a hearing test which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Weak Health Associated With Hearing Loss?

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

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

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Many instances of tinnitus and hearing loss are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure affects the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be a consequence of smoking – the body has to work harder to squeeze the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults who have hearing impairment 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 believe there are numerous reasons why the two are connected: the brain needs to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which allows less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to socialize less. This social separation leads to anxiety and depression, which can have a severe impact on a person’s mental health.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

There are a few options available to deal with hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, the best thing to do is address the problem as soon as you can before it has more extreme consequences.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in fighting your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that are Bluetooth ready. What’s more, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they block out background noise far better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.

Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or consult with their physician about changes to their diet to help prevent further hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can often be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health conditions, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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