You probably already know that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there’s intriguing research suggesting a connection between neglected hearing loss and premature death?
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for people with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists discover a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was considerably increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
- 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.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a robust social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky on their own).
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You likely felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. You might find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we combine the wealth of data, a whole picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.