Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you know there’s intriguing research indicating a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?
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 appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for those who have 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 research.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they find a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Rather, they attempt to determine why the connection exists. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from over half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the chance of early death was considerably increased by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others has many 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 engage in physical exercise.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky by themselves).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. 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 chatting with each other? You likely felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family events. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many people experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the link between early death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Premature Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It demonstrates how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.