You likely already recognize 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 demonstrates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But people who suffer from untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. They could connect an increased risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater 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 Connection
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
This assumption is supported by earlier research. Data from over half a million individuals was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Having relationships socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Comparable studies back these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- More independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.