You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there’s fascinating research indicating a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But individuals who deal with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to connect a greater chance of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists discover a link, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Rather, they try to establish why the connection exists. What’s the common connection?
In this same study it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. Data from more than half a million individuals was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer a number of life-extending advantages to humans:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. 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 the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You may find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more challenging because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. After examining their research, they came to an important conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It reveals how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the early demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.