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 indicates 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 accounting for these differences, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for people with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women with no children were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This assumption is backed by earlier research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for more than half a million individuals. It revealed that social isolation raises the risk 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 relationships offer numerous life-extending benefits to humans:
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for people who are active socially.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Support… Someone with a strong social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. 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 probably felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it gets more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. 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. You may find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.
You will remain 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 wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
- Improved social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on every part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.