You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals who have hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for over half a million participants. It discovered that social solitude increases the risk of early death significantly.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending advantages to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what untreated 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 lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. It shows how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.