Most people recognize that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that demonstrates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.
Personal life expectancy varies widely, of course. This variance can be connected to things like access to healthy foods, where you live, healthcare accessibility, kind of work, and even gender. But people who suffer from neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into account.
Studies Connecting Early Death to Hearing Loss
Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 people was examined by Norwegian researchers. The cases of death for all the individuals were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to link an increased chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.
The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for those with 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
For scientists, just because they find a link doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Instead, they attempt to determine why the connection occurs. How are the two really related?
In this same research it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This suggests that social life has an effect on longevity.
This assumption is supported by earlier studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the data from more than half a million individuals. It revealed that the chance of early death was substantially increased by social isolation.
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:
- Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
- Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up in the morning, try new things and look forward to their day.
- Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are socially active.
- Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
- Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater chance you’ll receive medical attention right away if you need it.
- Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they require it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).
Why does neglected hearing loss decrease social participation?
How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity
You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to envision how hearing loss may change that.
Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but paying no attention to you? You probably felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.
From your perspective, you often feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family events, can be the outcome. Going out to a restaurant with friends and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:
- Mental exhaustion
Social connections become even more difficult because of these.
The Norwegian scientists offer a silver lining in their research, however. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. Purchasing hearing aids can clear away the connection between premature death and hearing loss.
Using hearing aids helps you remain active, social, and healthier for a longer period.
Similar studies back these facts. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when people with hearing loss use hearing aids consistently, they have:
- Greater independence
- Better relationships with family
- Enhanced social life outside the home
Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss
Premature death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But when we combine the abundance of data, a whole picture emerges. It reveals how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to identify why the premature demise connection exists.
These studies also make it obvious that treating hearing loss can reverse its adverse effects. You will live a longer, healthier and socially active life.
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