You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a connection between premature death and untreated hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. 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, people with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.
Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from more than 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals with hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they uncover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Rather, they try to determine why the connection exists. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study further revealed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This assumption is supported by earlier studies. Data from over half a million participants was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was significantly raised by social isolation.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are socially active.
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
- Support… A person with a healthy social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
- Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?
Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected Hearing Loss
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected 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.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. Here are a few other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian researchers offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after evaluating their research. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be backed by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- Better relationships with family
- Greater independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to see why the early demise link exists.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.