Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you know there’s intriguing research suggesting a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated 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 individuals. They could link a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Determining what exactly the connection is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous studies support this assumption. Data from over half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social isolation increases the risk of early death considerably.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer numerous life-extending advantages to humans:
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very alone. You can start 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 difficult time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact 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 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 supported by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Premature Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.