You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that indicates a connection between premature death and neglected 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 untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they try to identify why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.
This assumption is backed by earlier studies. Data from over half a million participants was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often 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 Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but ignoring you? You probably felt very alone. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. 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 emotionally and physically, even at family gatherings. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Buying hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we integrate the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the early demise connection exists.
It’s also obvious that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.