Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that shows a link between early death and untreated hearing loss.
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 even accounting for these differences, individuals with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers 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 individuals. They were able to connect an increased risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Instead, they attempt to establish why the connection occurs. How are the two really related?
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 effect on longevity.
Previous studies support this presumption. Data from more than half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Having relationships socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Support… A person with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear 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. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.