You likely already know that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is fascinating research indicating a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But individuals who cope with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect an increased chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from more than half a million people was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending advantages to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… A person with a robust social group is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. 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? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when people with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.