You likely already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that shows a link between early death and neglected hearing loss.
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 people who deal with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists find a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no kids were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
This presumption is backed by earlier research. Data from over half a million people was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly increased by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Connecting socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
- 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 try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having people around.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to share a casual conversation with you.
You often lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You might find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are a few other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more challenging.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between early 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.
This fact can be reinforced by similar research. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the wealth of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also clear that having your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.