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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 reveals a link between general health and hearing loss.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in senior citizens with vision or hearing loss. You may have already read about that. But one thing you may not be aware of is that life expectancy can also be influenced by hearing loss.

People who have neglected hearing loss, according to this study, may actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have a hard time performing activities necessary for daily life just about doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical problem and a quality of life problem.

While this might sound like bad news, there is a silver lining: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be treated. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help expose major health concerns and inspire you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.

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

Research definitely shows a link but the exact 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, greater chance of heart disease, and stroke.

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these results make more sense. Many cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since the blood vessels in the ear canal are impacted 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) functioning which brings about higher blood pressure. Older adults with heart troubles and hearing loss often experience a whooshing sound in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be connected according to health professionals and hearing specialists: the brain needs to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other cases, lots of people with hearing loss tend to be less social, usually because of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a serious impact on a person’s mental health from social separation resulting in depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have a number of options for treating hearing loss, but as the studies show, it’s best to tackle these issues early before they affect your general health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in dealing with your hearing loss. There are numerous different types of hearing aids available, including small, subtle models that connect with Bluetooth technology. Also, basic quality of life has been improving as a result of hearing aid technology. For instance, they block 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 stop further hearing loss. 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 total health.

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