Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you know there is intriguing research revealing a connection between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They were able to connect an increased risk of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists find a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Determining what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women with no kids were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from over half a million participants. It discovered that social isolation increases the risk of early death significantly.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer several 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.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a robust social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but ignoring you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more challenging because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
This fact can be backed by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.