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 revealing a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
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 people who cope with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 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 linked to neglected hearing loss.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they attempt to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at increased risk. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
Previous research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for more than half a million participants. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with others has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Support… A person with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having people around.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated 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 people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. 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 hard time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you often 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 attending a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating 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.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They revealed that when individuals with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- More independence
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.