You likely already know 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 premature death?
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 appear to die earlier.
Studies Linking 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 examined individuals. They could connect a greater chance of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Identifying what precisely the connection is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. How are the two really related?
In this same study it was reported that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Earlier research supports this assumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from over half a million individuals. It reported that the chance of early death was significantly increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Having relationships socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Support… A person with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have better access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
Why does neglected 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 fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough 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. This can very easily make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You might find that you merely avoid these kinds of interactions. Here are some other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After reviewing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
This fact can be supported by similar research. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Improved social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex connection. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to see why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can reverse its negative effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.