You likely already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there’s intriguing research revealing a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from over 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 premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for people with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists find a link, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.
Previous studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for more than half a million individuals. It revealed that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
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 changed 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? It was most likely a lonely feeling. 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 difficult time having a conversation with you.
You often 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 outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more challenging because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Comparable studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They found that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.