Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But did you realize there’s intriguing research revealing a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?
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 individuals who deal with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. Whatever the cause, premature death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.
The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss particularly if they live alone and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people with even mild hearing loss, according to other studies.
Clarifying The Connection
For scientists, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Rather, they attempt to identify why the connection exists. How are the two really linked?
The Norwegian study also revealed that women and men who were divorced and women with no children were also at higher risk. This suggests that social life has an impact on longevity.
This assumption is supported by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from more than half a million participants. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially raised by social separation.
How Does Social Stability Contribute to Longevity?
Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social relationships offer numerous life-extending advantages to humans:
- Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
- Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people around.
- Support… A person with a robust social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
- Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
- Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having people around.
- Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss might change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying each other’s company, but ignoring you? You probably felt very alone. You can start to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a difficult time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family events, can be the result. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other challenges that individuals who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:
- Mental exhaustion
These make social contact even more difficult.
The Norwegian scientists offer a positive side in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer time.
Similar studies support these facts. One such study was carried out by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:
- Stronger relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
- Greater independence
Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Premature Death
The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But when we integrate the wealth of data, an entire picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.