Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that shows a link between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for those with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from more than half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was significantly increased by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely 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 strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You probably felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it gets more difficult to share a casual conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family events. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are a few other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The connection 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 studies. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But when we integrate the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.