You likely already know that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is fascinating research revealing a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.
Previous studies support this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million individuals. It discovered that social isolation increases the risk of early death considerably.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer several life-extending advantages to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater risk you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of seeking help.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected 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 in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very alone. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Here are some other concerns that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more challenging because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.
It’s also clear that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.