You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that indicates a connection between early death and untreated hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be related to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. They could link a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for those who have hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
In this same research it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this presumption. Data from more than half a million individuals was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social solitude increases the risk of early death substantially.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are active socially.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it gets harder to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more challenging.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. After examining their research, they came to an important conclusion. Buying hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But when we combine the wealth of data, a whole picture appears. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise link exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.