You probably already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is fascinating research revealing a connection between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. 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 increased for those who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
When scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Determining what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really linked?
In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be linked to social ties.
Previous research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for more than half a million individuals. It reported that the risk of early death was significantly raised by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Support… Someone with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, try 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.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly 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. You might find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many people suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the link between early death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be supported by similar research. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- More independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Premature Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But when we integrate the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
It’s also obvious that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.