Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you realize there is intriguing research revealing a connection between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be linked to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for people with hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Instead, they try to identify why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be connected to social ties.
Earlier research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from over half a million individuals. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
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:
- Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, 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.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for people who are active socially.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting 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. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other concerns that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable 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:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But when we integrate the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.