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 convincing research that demonstrates a connection between early death and untreated 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.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for those with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no kids were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
Earlier studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated 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 Increase Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease 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 fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You likely felt very lonely. 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 miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many people suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After reviewing their research, they came to an important conclusion. 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.
This fact can be supported by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. It shows how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
It’s also obvious that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.