Most people understand 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 link between early death and untreated hearing loss.
Individual 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, individuals with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. They could link a greater chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
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 with even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Link
Any time scientists find a link, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Rather, they try to establish why the connection exists. How are the two really linked?
In this same research it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no kids and women and men who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an effect on longevity.
This presumption is supported by earlier studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data for more than half a million participants. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
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:
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having others around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if needed.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for people who are active socially.
- Support… Someone with a healthy social group is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of attempting to do something dangerous on their own).
Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?
How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be fixed by hearing loss?
Have you ever been with a group of strangers, who were ignoring you while talking to each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.
On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can quickly cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. 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. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more stressful because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after evaluating their research. The connection between premature death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you use hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
This fact can be supported by similar studies. The American Academy of Audiology performed one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids regularly, they have:
- More independence
- Stronger relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Untreated Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to understand.
It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on every part of life. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.