Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you realize there’s fascinating research indicating a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?
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 even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They were able to link a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is linked to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Determining what exactly the link is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that men and women who were divorced and women with no kids were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated factor indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
Earlier studies support this assumption. Data from more than half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many individuals experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social connections even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you stay active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Comparable studies back these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when people with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So the premature death link isn’t hard to comprehend.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can counter its adverse effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.