You probably already know that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is fascinating research suggesting a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But individuals who deal with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
Earlier studies support this assumption. Data from over half a million people was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It discovered that social isolation 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 several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky on their own).
- 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… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if needed.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it gets 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. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The connection between premature death and hearing loss can be broken 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. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.