Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that shows a link between early death and untreated hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for those with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Rather, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
Earlier studies support this assumption. 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 significantly raised by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease 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 with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You probably felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You may find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. It demonstrates how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.