Most people understand that leading a sedentary lifestyle and smoking is bad for them. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some convincing research that demonstrates a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.

Of course, life expectancy varies widely. Access to healthcare, where you live, gender, type of work, and access to healthy food can all be factors in this variance. But people who deal with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier even when you take these differences into consideration.

Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 people was evaluated by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. Whatever the cause, premature death could be linked to untreated hearing loss.

Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased danger of cardiovascular death for individuals with hearing loss, especially if they live by themselves.

Clarifying The Connection

Any time scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily causing the other. Identifying what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will try to do. How are the two really related?

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

This presumption is supported by earlier research. Data from more than half a million individuals was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that the risk of early death was substantially raised by social isolation.

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

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:

  • Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
  • Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
  • Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.
  • Support… A person who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to try to do something hazardous instead of seeking help.
  • Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater risk you’ll get medical attention immediately if you need it.

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

How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Isolation And Decreased Longevity

You most likely have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to imagine 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 paying no attention to you? You probably felt very lonely. This is what neglected hearing loss can start to feel like. It’s not that people are ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a hard 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. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. In addition, many people experiencing advancing hearing loss have:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Mental exhaustion

Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After analyzing their research, they came to an important conclusion. The connection between early death and hearing loss can be disrupted by wearing hearing aids.

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

Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:

  • More independence
  • Improved social life outside the home
  • Stronger relationships with family

Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss

Early death and hearing loss have a complex association. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is revealed. So it’s easy to see why the early demise connection exists.

These studies also make it obvious that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.

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