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

Just like reading glasses and graying hair, hearing loss is simply one of those things that most people accept as a part of the aging process. But a study from Duke-NUS Medical School shows a connection between hearing loss and overall health in older adults.

Communication troubles, depression, and cognitive decline have a higher occurrence in older people with vision or hearing loss. You might have already 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 study, might actually have a shorter lifespan. In addition, they discovered that if untreated hearing loss occurred with vision impairments it almost doubles the probability that they will have difficulty with activities necessary for day-to-day living. It’s both a physical issue and a quality of life issue.

While this may sound like bad news, there is a positive spin: several ways that hearing loss can be treated. More significantly, serious health concerns can be revealed if you have a hearing test which could encourage you to lengthen your life expectancy by taking better care of yourself.

Why is Poor Health Associated With Hearing Loss?

Research certainly reveals a link but the accurate cause and effect isn’t perfectly known.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins note that seniors with hearing loss tended to have other issues, {includingsuch as} high rates of smoking, greater chance of heart disease, and stroke.

When you understand what the causes of hearing loss are, these findings make more sense. Countless instances of tinnitus and hearing loss 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 a consequence of smoking – the blood in the body has to push harder to keep the ears (and everything else) functioning which brings about higher blood pressure. Older adults who have heart conditions 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 dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of cognitive decline. Hearing specialists and other health care professionals think there are several reasons why the two are linked: the brain needs to work harder to understand conversations and words for one, which leaves less mental capacity to actually process the words or do anything else. In other circumstances, many people who have hearing loss tend to be less social, usually due to the difficulty they have communicating. There can be an extreme impact on a person’s mental health from social separation leading to depression and anxiety.

How Older Adults Can Treat Hearing Loss

Older adults have several choices for treating hearing loss, but as is shown by research, the smartest thing to do is address the problem as soon as possible before it has more severe repercussions.

Hearing aids are one type of treatment that can be very effective in combating your hearing loss. There are several different types of hearing aids available, including small, discreet models that are Bluetooth ready. In addition, hearing aid technology has been improving basic quality-of-life issues. For example, they let you hear better during your entertainment by allowing you to connect to your phone, computer, or TV and they filter out background sound better than older models.

Older adults can also go to a nutritionist or contact their physician about changes to their diet to help counter 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. A better diet can help your other medical conditions and help you have better overall 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.