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 simply one of those things that most people accept as a part of growing old. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School demonstrates a connection between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.

Senior citizens with hearing or vision loss commonly struggle more with cognitive decline, depression, and communication troubles. That’s something you might have already read about. But did you know that hearing loss is also linked to shorter life expectancy?

This study suggests that those with neglected hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the possibility that they will have a hard time carrying out tasks necessary for everyday life almost doubles if the individual has both hearing and vision impairment. 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 managed 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 paying more attention to your health.

Why is Weak Health Associated With Hearing Loss?

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, {likesuch 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. Countless cases of tinnitus and hearing loss are linked 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 due to smoking – the body needs to work harder to push the blood through which leads to high blood pressure. Older adults with heart problems and hearing loss frequently experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which is usually caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been connected to dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health professionals believe there are several reasons why the two are linked: for starters, the brain needs to work harder to differentiate words in a conversation, which saps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other scenarios, difficulty communicating causes people with hearing loss to be less social. This social isolation leads to anxiety and depression, which can have an extreme impact on a person’s mental health.

How Older Adults Can Manage Hearing Loss

There are a number of solutions available to deal with hearing loss in older adults, but as is revealed by research, it is best to deal with these concerns early before they affect your overall health.

Hearing aids are one form of treatment that can be very effective in combating your hearing loss. There are small discreet versions of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. Also, basic quality of life has been enhancing due to hearing aid technology. For example, they enable you to hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they block out background sound better than older versions.

So that you can prevent additional hearing loss, older adults can seek advice from their physician 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. An improved diet can help your other medical issues and help you have better total health.

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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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