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 convincing research that shows a connection 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 people who cope with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Rather, they attempt to identify why the connection occurs. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at greater risk. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
This presumption is backed by previous studies. Data from over half a million participants was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social solitude raises the danger 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 numerous life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having people around.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when individuals with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- More independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise connection exists.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.