You probably already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there’s fascinating research revealing a connection between untreated 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 even accounting for these differences, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. They could link a greater risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what precisely the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common connection?
In this same study it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
Previous research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for over half a million participants. It found that social solitude increases the danger of early death substantially.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer numerous life-extending advantages to humans:
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… A person with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. 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 paying no attention to you? You likely felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many individuals suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Comparable studies support these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.