You probably already know that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that indicates a connection between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss appear 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. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could link an increased chance of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for people with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, 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 connection?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be connected to social ties.
This presumption is backed by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from over half a million individuals. It found that social solitude increases the risk of early death considerably.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer several life-extending advantages to humans:
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Support… A person with a robust social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are active socially.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Isolation 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 with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a 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 gatherings, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The connection 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 backed by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. It shows how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.