Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you know there is intriguing research indicating a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
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 deal with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. They could link a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists find a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Instead, they try to identify why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
This assumption is backed by earlier research. Data from over half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was substantially increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having others around.
- 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 Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed 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. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can quickly make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are a few other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more challenging because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the link between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies support these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death link isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.