Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good 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 neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be related to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But people who deal with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists find a link, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from over half a million people was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social solitude raises the risk of early death substantially.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are socially active.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. 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? You probably felt very lonely. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly cause you to withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family get-togethers. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Additionally, many people experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the link between early death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But when we combine the wealth of data, a whole picture emerges. It demonstrates how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.