Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a connection between premature death and untreated hearing loss.
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 individuals who deal with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for those with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Determining what exactly the link is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
This presumption is backed by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for over half a million participants. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater risk you’ll get medical attention immediately if needed.
- Support… A person with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? 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 starting to have a hard 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 events, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many people suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the link between premature death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Similar studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But when we integrate the wealth of data, an entire picture emerges. It demonstrates how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the early demise connection exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.