You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that shows 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 people who deal with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from more than 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied individuals. They could link a greater risk of premature death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.
Clarifying The Link
For scientists, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly established. Determining what exactly 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 men and women who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This assumption is supported by previous research. Data from over half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It discovered that social seclusion increases the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer several life-extending advantages to humans:
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
- 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.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
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 imagine how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was most likely a lonely feeling. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
You often miss 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. 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 experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. Purchasing 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.
This fact can be reinforced by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. They revealed that when people with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- More independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. It demonstrates how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So the early death link isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can counter its negative effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.