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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 getting old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a link between overall health and hearing loss.

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

This research shows that individuals with neglected hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. In addition, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision problems it just about doubles the probability that they will have a tough time with activities necessary for daily living. It’s an issue that is both a physical and a quality of life concern.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a positive spin: there’s a variety of ways that hearing loss can be managed. More significantly, major health issues can be uncovered 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 compelling, cause and effect are still unclear.

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

These results make sense when you know more about the causes of hearing loss. Many cases of hearing loss and tinnitus 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 push the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults with heart troubles and hearing loss commonly experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been connected to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are several reasons why the two are connected: for one, the brain needs to work overtime to differentiate words in a conversation, which leaves less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, many people with hearing loss tend to be less social, commonly as a result of the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a serious affect on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

There are several options available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as is shown by research, the smartest thing to do is address the issue as soon as you can before it has more severe consequences.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in fighting your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. In addition, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they filter out background noise a lot better than older models and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

So that you can avoid additional hearing loss, older adults can consult their physician or a nutritionist about positive dietary changes. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can usually be treated by increasing the iron content in your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively affect other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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