You probably 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 know is that there is some convincing research that indicates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
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 even taking these differences into consideration, individuals with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian scientists looked at 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 risk of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals 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 studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For researchers, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Instead, they try to identify why the connection exists. What’s the common thread?
In this same study it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.
Earlier studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for more than half a million individuals. It revealed that the chance of early death was significantly raised by social isolation.
How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?
Having relationships socially with other people has many life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
- Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Mental stimulation… You’re participating with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something risky on their own).
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss develops, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can very easily make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family events. The appeal of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. Additionally, many individuals suffering from advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the connection between early death and hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Improved social life outside the home
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise link exists.
It’s also evident that getting your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on every part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.