You likely already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is intriguing research suggesting a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Individual 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, individuals with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to link an increased chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at greater risk. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from over half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention immediately if needed.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are socially active.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be supported by similar research. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.