You likely already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, type of work, gender, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. They were able to link an increased chance of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The chance of cardiovascular death is increased for people with hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.
Clarifying The Link
For researchers, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Instead, they try to identify why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no kids were also at increased risk. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
This presumption is supported by earlier studies. Data from more than half a million individuals was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It discovered that social solitude raises the risk of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer numerous life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous by themselves).
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up 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 socially active.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention immediately if you need it.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? You probably felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes harder to have a casual conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. In addition, many individuals suffering from worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social interactions become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The connection between premature death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be reinforced by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the premature death link isn’t difficult to comprehend.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.