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

Most people just accept hearing loss as a part of growing old like gray hair or reading glasses. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School reveals a link between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.

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

This study indicates that individuals with neglected hearing loss may enjoy “fewer years of life”. And, the possibility that they will have difficulty undertaking activities required for daily life just about doubles if the person has both hearing and vision impairment. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life problem.

This may sound bad but there’s a positive: hearing loss, for older people, can be treated through a variety of methods. Even more significantly, having a hearing exam can help expose major health concerns and spark you to pay more attention to staying healthy, which will increase your life expectancy.

Why is Poor Health Connected With Hearing Loss?

Research certainly reveals a link but the exact cause and effect isn’t well known.

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

When you know what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Many instances of hearing loss and tinnitus are tied to heart disease since high blood pressure impacts the blood vessels in the ear canal. When the blood vessels are shrunken – which can be brought on by smoking – the body needs to work harder to squeeze the blood through which results in high blood pressure. Older adults who have heart problems and hearing loss often experience a whooshing noise in their ears, which can be caused by high blood pressure.

Hearing loss has also been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other types of cognitive decline. There are a number of reasons for the two to be linked according to health care professionals and hearing specialists: the brain has to work overtime to decipher conversations and words for one, which taps out the brain’s ability to do anything else. In other cases, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, usually due to the difficulty they have communicating. There can be a severe impact on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

There are a number of options available to treat hearing loss in older adults, but as the studies show, the smartest thing to do is deal with the issue as soon as possible before it has more extreme repercussions.

Hearing aids are one kind of treatment that can be very effective in combating your hearing loss. There are small discreet models of hearing aids that are Bluetooth ready and an assortment of other options are also available. What’s more, hearing aid technology has been enhancing basic quality-of-life challenges. For example, they block out background sound much better than older designs and can be connected to cell phones, TVs, and computers to let you hear better during the entertainment.

Older adults can also visit a nutritionist or talk to their physician about changes to their diet to help stop further hearing loss. There are links between iron deficiency anemia and hearing loss, for instance, which can frequently 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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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.