You probably already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there’s intriguing research indicating a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers looked at the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, especially if they live alone.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Identifying what precisely the link is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common connection?
The Norwegian study also showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at increased risk. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
Earlier research supports this assumption. Data from over half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if needed.
- Support… A person with a robust social group is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having people around.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You most likely 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 strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You likely felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. In addition, many people experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be reinforced by similar research. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
- Stronger relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So the premature death link isn’t difficult to comprehend.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.