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 shows a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, people 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 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they find a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at greater risk. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
This presumption is backed by previous research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data from more than half a million individuals. It revealed that social isolation raises the danger of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- 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 sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Isolation 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 strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? 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 like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.