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

Much like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is just one of those things that most people accept as a part of the aging process. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a connection between overall health and hearing loss.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. That’s something you might have already read about. But did you know 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. Additionally, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision problems it nearly doubles the likelihood that they will have a hard time with tasks necessary for daily living. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

This might sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of methods. More significantly, major health concerns can be revealed if you have a hearing exam which could inspire you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

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

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

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

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings 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 the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be caused by smoking – the body has to work harder to push the blood through which leads to 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 care professionals think there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s capacity to do anything else. In other cases, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe affect on a person’s mental health from social isolation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

Older adults have a number of choices for managing hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, it is best to tackle these concerns early before they affect your general health.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are numerous different styles of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that are Bluetooth ready. In addition, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they block out background sound far better than older models and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

In order to stop additional hearing loss, older adults can consult with their doctor or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better overall health.

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