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 convincing research that indicates a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.

Of course, life expectancy varies widely. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But even accounting for these differences, people with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.

Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Norwegian researchers evaluated the health data from over 50,000 individuals over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to neglected hearing loss.

Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is associated with a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for individuals who have hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.

Clarifying The Link

For scientists, just because they discover a link doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Instead, they attempt to establish why the connection occurs. What’s the common connection?

The Norwegian study further showed that women and men who were divorced and women who did not have kids were also at higher risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.

This assumption is supported by previous studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from over half a million participants. It revealed that social solitude increases the risk of early death significantly.

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

Connecting socially with other people has numerous life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:

  • Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll get medical attention right away if needed.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re participating with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
  • Support… Someone who doesn’t have a robust social network is more likely to try to do something risky instead of asking for help.
  • Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
  • Improved diet and health… Socially connected people often have better 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.

What is it about untreated hearing loss that takes all of this away?

How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in 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 people you don’t know, who were ignoring you while chatting with each other? It was probably a lonely feeling. This is what untreated hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are starting 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. This can quickly make you withdraw emotionally and physically, even at family gatherings. The enjoyment of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. You might find that you simply avoid these kinds of interactions. Additionally, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:

  • Anxiety
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Paranoia

These make social connections even more difficult.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. They reached a very important conclusion after analyzing their research. Investing in hearing aids can eliminate the connection between early death and hearing loss.

Wearing hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.

This fact can be reinforced by similar research. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:

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

Early Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss

Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture appears. It demonstrates how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death link isn’t hard to understand.

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

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