You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is fascinating research suggesting a connection between untreated 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 accounting for these differences, individuals with neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even mild hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Identifying what precisely the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common thread?
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 element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be related to social ties.
This assumption is supported by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for over half a million individuals. It revealed that social solitude raises the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships offer numerous life-extending advantages to humans:
- Support… A person with a robust social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky by themselves).
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to imagine how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? You likely felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss develops, it gets harder to share a casual conversation with you.
You frequently lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends begins to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. 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.
This fact can be backed by similar research. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It reveals how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to comprehend.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.