Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that shows a link between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Rather, they try to identify why the connection exists. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women with no kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Earlier research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for over half a million participants. It found that social isolation increases the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having others around.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after examining their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Similar studies support these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture emerges. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.