You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some compelling research that shows a link between early death and untreated hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But even taking these differences into consideration, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. 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 people with 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 research.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists find a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Rather, they try to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was reported 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 may be connected to social ties.
Previous research supports this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data from more than half a million individuals. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Connecting socially with others has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are socially active.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of seeking help.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that causes all of this?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Result of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You probably felt very alone. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
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:
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Premature Death
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. It reveals how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the early death connection isn’t hard to understand.
It’s also clear that having your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on each aspect of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.