Most people understand that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a link between early death and untreated hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like where you live, access to healthy foods, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But people who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, early death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a connection 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 research it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.
Earlier studies support this assumption. Data from more than half a million individuals was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was considerably increased by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many individuals experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Buying hearing aids can clear away the connection between early death and hearing loss.
You will remain healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar research. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to recognize why the premature demise connection exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the impact of hearing loss on each part of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.