Most people understand that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you know there is intriguing research revealing a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be linked to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But individuals who deal with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they find a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Determining what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. How are the two really linked?
In this same study it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
This assumption is backed by previous research. Data from over half a million participants was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social solitude increases the danger of early death considerably.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater risk you’ll receive medical attention right away if needed.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Support… Someone with a robust social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. 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 lonely. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
You often 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 result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Additionally, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. They reached a significant conclusion after examining their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.