Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing 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 individuals who cope with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They could link a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists discover a link, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what exactly the link is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further showed that men and women who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
Earlier research supports this presumption. Data from more than half a million individuals was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was considerably increased by social separation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Untreated Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? You probably felt very alone. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to share a casual conversation with you.
You often lose parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You might find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Additionally, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. After examining their research, they came to an important conclusion. Investing in 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.
Similar studies support these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we integrate the wealth of data, a whole picture emerges. The impact of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So the early death link isn’t difficult to understand.
It’s also evident that having your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.