Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But people who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. They were able to link a greater risk of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for those who have hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Identifying what precisely the link is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous studies support this presumption. Data from more than half a million people was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social solitude increases the risk of early death considerably.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer a number of life-extending advantages to humans:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having others around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky by themselves).
- Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You probably felt very lonely. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. In addition, many individuals suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after examining their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when individuals with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- More independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But when we integrate the abundance of data, a whole picture emerges. It demonstrates how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So the early death link isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.