You probably already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a connection between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
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 people who suffer from untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Identifying what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
Previous research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from more than half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
You often lose 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. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other concerns that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the wealth of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.