You probably already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for those with hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Rather, they attempt to determine why the connection exists. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This assumption is backed by previous studies. Data from over half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably 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? It was probably a lonely feeling. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. 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 wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when individuals with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It demonstrates how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to understand.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.