Most people understand that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you realize there is fascinating research indicating a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. 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 deal with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists discover a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Instead, they attempt to establish why the connection occurs. What’s the common thread?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous studies support this assumption. Data from more than half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Support… Someone with a robust social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are socially active.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people 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. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You likely felt very alone. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. 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.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. In addition, many people suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- More independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. It shows how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise link exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.