Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you know there’s fascinating research indicating a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But individuals who cope with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to connect a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people 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 solidly demonstrated. Rather, they try to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
In this same research it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This presumption is supported by earlier research. Data from over half a million individuals was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Connecting socially with other people has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are socially active.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated 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 with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You probably felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a 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. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many people suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- More independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.