Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a link between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. 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 neglected hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They could connect a greater risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists discover a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. How are the two really linked?
In this same research it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
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 chance of early death was considerably increased 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 a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having people around.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll get medical attention right away if you need it.
- Support… A person with a robust social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
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 people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but ignoring you? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets more difficult 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 events, can be the outcome. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. After reviewing their research, they came to an important conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar research. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when people with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
The link between hearing loss and early death is a complex one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So the premature death link isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.