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 gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a connection between hearing loss and total health in older adults.

Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss commonly struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication troubles. You may already have read about that. But did you realize that hearing loss is also connected to shorter life expectancy?

People who have untreated hearing loss, according to this research, may actually have a reduced lifespan. And, the likelihood that they will have difficulty carrying out activities needed for everyday life nearly doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s a problem that is both a physical and a quality of life issue.

While this might sound like sad news, there is a silver lining: hearing loss, for older adults, can be managed through a variety of means. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help reveal major health issues and spark you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.

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

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

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors 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 results make more sense. Countless cases of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When you have shrunken blood vessels – which can be due to smoking – the body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. High blood pressure in older adults with hearing impairment often causes them to hear a whooshing noise in their ears.

Hearing loss has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be linked according to health professionals and hearing experts: 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 circumstances, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, frequently due to the difficulty they have communicating. This social separation leads to depression and anxiety, which can have a severe impact on a person’s mental health.

How Hearing Loss Can be Treated by Older Adults

Older adults have several options for managing hearing loss, but as the studies demonstrate, the best thing to do is address the problem as soon as possible before it has more extreme consequences.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can work wonders in combating your hearing loss. There are several different types 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 challenges. For example, they filter out background sound much better than older designs and can be connected to computers, cell phones, and TV’s to allow for better hearing during the entertainment.

Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or consult with their primary care physician about changes to their diet to help stop further hearing loss. There are connections between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for example, which can frequently be treated by adding more iron into your diet. Changes to your diet could also positively impact other health issues, resulting in an overall more healthy lifestyle.

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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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