Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you realize there’s fascinating research suggesting a link between neglected hearing loss and early death?
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But individuals who suffer from untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they attempt to establish why the connection exists. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.
Previous studies support this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for over half a million individuals. It reported that the risk of early death was significantly raised by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for people who are active socially.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to share a casual conversation with you.
You often lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts 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
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.