Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you know there is fascinating research suggesting a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. 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 more than 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, early death could be connected to untreated hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists discover a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what precisely the link is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. How are the two really linked?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
This presumption is supported by previous research. Data from more than half a million individuals was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss might 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 likely felt very lonely. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can quickly cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- Greater independence
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But when we combine the wealth of data, an entire picture appears. It shows how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to understand.
It’s also obvious that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.