Most people understand that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some compelling research that shows a link between premature death and untreated hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But individuals who suffer from untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study also revealed that men and women who were divorced and women with no children were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
Previous research supports this presumption. Data from more than half a million participants was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social isolation increases the danger of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher risk you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? It was probably a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The connection between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- More independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.