You likely already know that smoking is bad for you and so 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. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Linking 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 individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect a greater risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they attempt to identify why the connection occurs. What’s the common connection?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
Earlier studies support this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for more than half a million participants. It reported that the chance of early death was significantly increased 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 connections offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having people around.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You likely felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes more difficult to share a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Similar studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But when we combine the wealth of data, an entire picture appears. It demonstrates how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can counter its adverse effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.