You probably already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is fascinating research suggesting a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But people who cope with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could link an increased chance of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is linked to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Determining what precisely the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
This assumption is supported by previous studies. Data from over half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social isolation raises the risk of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something risky on their own).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes harder to share a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. The link between premature 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.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we combine the wealth of data, a whole picture appears. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.