You probably already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
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 accounting for these differences, individuals with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for people who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what precisely the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
This presumption is backed by previous research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data from more than half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was significantly increased by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of asking for help.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- 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.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
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 the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? You probably felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to have a casual conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You may find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be supported by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. It shows how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to understand.
It’s also obvious that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.