Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that indicates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.
Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be related to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, individuals with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.
Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss
Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They could connect an increased chance of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.
Other research reveals that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for those who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.
Clarifying The Connection
When scientists discover a link, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what exactly the link is will usually be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?
The Norwegian study also revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no children were also at increased risk. This seemingly unrelated element indicates that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.
This assumption is backed by previous research. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology analyzed the data for over half a million participants. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer a number of life-extending benefits to humans:
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
- Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
- Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You most likely have family who will always be there for you. How could that be changed 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. 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 starting to have a tough time having a 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 make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family gatherings. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Here are a few other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more challenging.
However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining. After examining their research, they came to a significant conclusion. The link between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:
- More independence
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Better relationships with family
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But an entire picture emerges when all of the data is taken into account. The impact of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the early death link isn’t difficult to understand.
These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.