You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is fascinating research revealing a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be linked 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 appear to die earlier.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is increased for those who have hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
This assumption is backed by previous research. Data from more than half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social seclusion raises the risk of early death considerably.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer numerous life-extending advantages 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.
- 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 immediately if you need it.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You likely felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to share a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. Here are a few other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. The connection between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
- Stronger relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we combine the wealth of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.