You probably already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is fascinating research indicating a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But people who suffer from untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. They were able to link a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
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 those with 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 firmly established. Determining what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from more than half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social solitude raises the risk of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. Buying hearing aids can clear away the link between premature death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to understand.
It’s also clear 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 advanced years.