You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is intriguing research revealing a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, 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.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what exactly the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
This assumption is backed by previous research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for over half a million participants. It revealed that the risk of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop 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 changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
You often miss 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 get-togethers. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You may find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many people suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. Buying hearing aids can clear away the connection between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Similar studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.