You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is intriguing research suggesting a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?

Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be linked to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, type of work, and even gender. But individuals who deal with untreated hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.

Research Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss

Over a two year period, data from over 50,000 individuals was evaluated by Norwegian researchers. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the studied people. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.

The risk of cardiovascular death is greater for individuals who have hearing loss particularly 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 Link

When scientists find a link, they never presume that one is necessarily producing the other. Identifying what exactly the link is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?

In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.

Earlier studies support this presumption. Data from over half a million individuals was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social separation.

How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?

Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social relationships 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 greatly motivated by having others around.
  • Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
  • Support… A person who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of seeking help.
  • Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention immediately if needed.
  • Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.

Why does neglected hearing loss stop social participation?

How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity

You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. How could that be changed by hearing loss?

Have you ever been with a group of people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what untreated hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it becomes harder to share a casual conversation with you.

On your side of things, you often feel out of the loop because you lose parts of the conversation. This can very easily cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends begins to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss deal with.:

  • Mental exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Social connections become even more challenging because of these.

The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.

You will stay healthier, more active and social if you wear hearing aids and that can give you longevity.

Comparable studies back these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They found that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:

  • Greater independence
  • Stronger relationships with family
  • Enhanced social life outside the home

Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss

The connection between hearing loss and early death is a complicated one. But when we integrate the abundance of data, a whole picture emerges. The effect of hearing loss on health, relationships, and finances is revealed. So the early death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.

These studies also make it clear that treating hearing loss can counter its negative effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those advanced years.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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