You probably already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is intriguing research revealing a connection between neglected hearing loss and premature death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be linked to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to connect an increased risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the link is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
This presumption is backed by previous research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for over half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was considerably increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads 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 with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. In addition, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more challenging because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After examining their research, they came to an important conclusion. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Comparable studies back these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.