You probably already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They could link a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Rather, they try to identify why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at higher risk. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
Earlier studies support this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for over half a million participants. It revealed that social solitude increases the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll get medical attention immediately if needed.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. 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 ignoring you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. In addition, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After reviewing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies support these facts. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But when we integrate the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to understand.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on every part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.