You probably already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But did you realize there is intriguing research suggesting a link between untreated hearing loss and early death?
Individual 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 individuals who cope with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect an increased risk of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Instead, they try to determine why the connection exists. How are the two really related?
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 element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy might be connected to social ties.
Previous studies support this assumption. Data from over half a million people was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It found that social solitude raises the risk of early death considerably.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- 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… 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 people who are socially active.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
Why does untreated hearing loss decrease social participation?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You most likely 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? It was probably a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. In addition, many people experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. After reviewing their research, they came to an important conclusion. The link 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 period.
Similar studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Improved social life outside the home
- Stronger relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can counter its negative effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.