You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there’s fascinating research suggesting a connection between neglected hearing loss and premature death?
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 untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Linking Premature 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 individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could link a greater chance of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists find 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 showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be connected to social ties.
Earlier research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for over half a million participants. It found that social solitude raises the danger of early death significantly.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed 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 most likely a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to have a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. You might find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many people suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we integrate the wealth of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can counter its adverse effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.