Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a link between premature death and untreated hearing loss.
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater risk of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals who have hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Identifying what exactly the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no kids were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.
This presumption is supported by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You probably felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. Additionally, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise connection exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.