Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a link between premature death and untreated hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists looked at 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 examined people. They could link an increased risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Determining what precisely the connection is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. How are the two really related?
In this same research it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
This assumption is supported by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from more than half a million individuals. It revealed that social isolation increases the danger of early death significantly.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Support… A person with a robust social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher risk you’ll get medical attention immediately if you need it.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very alone. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets more difficult to share a casual conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more challenging because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.