You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is intriguing research suggesting a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Personal 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 even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, especially if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists discover a link, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they try to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study also revealed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be connected to social ties.
This presumption is supported by earlier research. Data from more than half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It discovered that social solitude increases the danger of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. 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.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. 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 a few other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
This fact can be backed by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the early death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.