Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you realize there is intriguing research indicating a link between untreated hearing loss and premature death?
Personal 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 individuals who deal with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. They could link an increased risk of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for people with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Rather, they attempt to establish why the connection occurs. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Previous research supports this presumption. Data from over half a million people was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social isolation raises the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a strong social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of attempting to do something risky on their own).
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to envision how hearing loss may 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 probably felt very alone. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many people suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more challenging because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an overall picture appears 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 recognize why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.