You likely already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there’s fascinating research revealing a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
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 Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. They could connect a greater risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is increased for those with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Rather, they try to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
The Norwegian study further showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
This presumption is backed by earlier research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for more than half a million individuals. It revealed that the risk of early death was considerably raised by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer numerous life-extending benefits to humans:
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having people around.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are active socially.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. They reached a significant conclusion after examining their research. The link between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies support these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we integrate the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise connection exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter 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.