Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that shows a link between early death and untreated 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 even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is linked to 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 Link
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Rather, they try to determine why the connection occurs. What’s the common thread?
In this same study it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Earlier studies support this presumption. Data from over half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social solitude raises the danger of early death substantially.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer a number of life-extending advantages to humans:
- Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably 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 people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You likely felt very alone. You can start 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 starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be reinforced by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- More independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise link exists.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.