Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be linked to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But people who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection exists. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
This assumption is backed by earlier research. Data from over half a million individuals was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer several life-extending advantages to humans:
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
You often lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Here are a few other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Comparable studies support these facts. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
- Greater independence
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It reveals how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the early death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also clear that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.