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You likely already recognize that smoking is bad for you and so are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t know is that there is some compelling research that shows a connection between early death and neglected hearing loss.

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

Research Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from more than 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined people. They were able to connect an increased chance of early death to hearing loss regardless of the cause of death.

Other studies show that even mild hearing loss is associated with a 21% greater morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people who have hearing loss, especially if they live alone.

Clarifying The Connection

For scientists, just because they find a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is solidly demonstrated. Instead, they try to determine why the connection exists. What’s the common thread?

In this same study it was revealed that there was a greater risk in women with no children and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be linked to social ties.

Earlier research supports this presumption. Data from more than half a million individuals was examined in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the risk of early death was significantly raised by social separation.

How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?

Having relationships socially with others has numerous life-extending advantages much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:

  • Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are active socially.
  • Safety… If you need medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with people in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
  • Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
  • Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for help if they require it (instead of trying to do something risky on their own).
  • Motivation… Having people around can motivate a person to get up in the morning, do new things and look forward to their day.

Why does untreated hearing loss stop social participation?

How Hearing Loss Can Leads to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity

You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s hard to imagine how hearing loss might change that.

Have you ever been in a room full of people you don’t know enjoying the company of each other, but ignoring you? It was most likely a lonely feeling. This is what neglected hearing loss can begin to feel like. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems as if you’re being ignored because people are beginning to have a tough time having a conversation with you.

You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. This can quickly make you withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family get-togethers. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its appeal. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Here are a few other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:

  • Mental exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

Social connections become even more difficult because of these.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. 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 period.

Comparable studies support these facts. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:

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

Premature Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss

The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So the early death link isn’t difficult to comprehend.

It’s also clear that getting your hearing loss treated can counter the impact of hearing loss on every aspect of life. You can continue to live an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.

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References

https://www.earth.com/news/hearing-loss-premature-death/
https://www.health.harvard.edu/hearing/news-briefs-does-hearing-loss-boost-death-risk
https://www.publichealth.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/hearing-loss-risk-factor-premature-death
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwy231

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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