Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a connection between early death and untreated 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 people who deal 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, data from more than 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They could connect a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Rather, they try to establish 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 indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Earlier studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million individuals. It discovered that social isolation raises the danger of early death significantly.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others 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, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
- Support… A person with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss may change that.
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 like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. This can quickly make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family gatherings. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are a few other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early 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 back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- More independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So the early death link isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can counter its adverse effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.