Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you know there is intriguing research indicating a link between neglected hearing loss and premature death?
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 individuals who cope with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.
Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, stats from over 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for people who have hearing loss especially if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals who suffer from even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
Any time scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. How are the two really linked?
In this same research 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 connected to social ties.
This presumption is backed by earlier studies. Data from more than half a million people was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social isolation increases the danger of early death substantially.
How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships offer several life-extending benefits to humans:
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a higher chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if needed.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Support… Someone with a strong social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something risky by themselves).
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be powerfully motivated by having others around.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
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 most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss may 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 most likely a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. People aren’t necessarily 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 frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these kinds of scenarios becomes common. In addition, many individuals experiencing worsening hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social interactions even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. After analyzing their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Wearing hearing aids helps you stay 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. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- More independence
- Better relationships with family
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.
It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on every part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.