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 is intriguing research suggesting a link between neglected hearing loss and early 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 individuals who deal with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for people with hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Rather, they attempt to establish why the connection occurs. What’s the common thread?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
Previous studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for over half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with other people has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… Someone with a robust social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are active socially.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can quickly cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise link exists.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.