Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some compelling research that shows a connection between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect an increased risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Instead, they try to determine why the connection exists. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have children were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
Earlier studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million participants. It revealed that the risk of early death was considerably increased by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are active socially.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? You probably felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it gets harder to share a casual 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 outcome. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. 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.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They found that when individuals with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we combine the wealth of data, a whole picture appears. It shows how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its detrimental effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.