Most people recognize that living a sedentary lifestyle and smoking isn’t good for them. But did you realize there’s intriguing research indicating a link between neglected hearing loss and premature death?

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 even accounting for these differences, people with neglected hearing loss seem to die earlier.

Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to connect an increased chance of premature death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.

The risk of cardiovascular death is increased for individuals who have hearing loss especially if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for individuals who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other research.

Clarifying The Connection

Any time scientists find a connection, they never assume that one is necessarily producing the other. Determining what precisely the connection is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?

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

Previous studies support this presumption. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data from over half a million individuals. It revealed that the risk of early death was significantly raised by social separation.

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

Not unlike a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in the wild, social connections offer several life-extending benefits to humans:

  • Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
  • Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to engage in physical exercise.
  • Improved diet and health… Socially connected people usually have greater access to healthy food and can get to doctor’s appointments.
  • Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
  • Safety… If you require medical help, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.

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

How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity

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

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. You can start to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. 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.

On your side of things, you frequently feel out of the loop because you miss parts of the conversation. This can quickly cause you to withdraw physically and emotionally, even at family events. Going out to a restaurant with friends and attending a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. You may find that you merely avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other challenges that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Mental exhaustion

Social interactions become even more difficult because of these.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. After examining their research, they came to an important conclusion. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the connection between premature death and hearing loss.

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

Comparable studies back these facts. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:

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

Premature Death Linked to Untreated Hearing Loss

Early death and hearing loss have a complicated association. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is considered. The effect of hearing loss on relationships, health, and finances is unveiled. So it’s easy to identify why the early demise link exists.

It’s also obvious that having your hearing loss treated can reverse the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You can keep living an active, social and healthy life well into those older years.

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