Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that shows a connection between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Determining what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from more than half a million people was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was considerably increased by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Support… Someone with a robust social group is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? You likely felt very lonely. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. Additionally, many people experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.