Audiology Associates of North Florida - Tallahassee, FL


You probably already know that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like leading a sedentary lifestyle. But did you know there is fascinating research suggesting a connection between neglected hearing loss and early death?

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 taking these differences into consideration, people with untreated hearing loss appear to die earlier.

Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss

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

The chance of cardiovascular death is greater for people who have hearing loss particularly if they live by themselves and there is a 21% higher morbidity for people who suffer from even moderate hearing loss, according to other studies.

Clarifying The Link

For scientists, just because they discover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly established. Rather, they attempt to establish 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 might be connected to social ties.

Earlier research supports this presumption. Data from more than half a million participants was analyzed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It revealed that social solitude raises the risk of early death considerably.

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

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

  • Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people around.
  • 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 get up and do things if you have people around.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with people.
  • Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having people around.
  • Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for individuals who are socially active.

What is it about neglected hearing loss that causes all of this?

How Hearing Loss Contributes to Social Separation And Decreased Longevity

You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. 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? You likely felt very lonely. 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 starting to have a hard time having a conversation with you.

You frequently miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Emotional and physical withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these kinds of situations becomes common. Here are some other concerns that individuals who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Mental exhaustion

Social connections become even more stressful because of these.

However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after examining their research. The link between premature death and hearing loss can be broken by wearing hearing aids.

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

This fact can be reinforced by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology carried out one such study. They revealed that when those with hearing loss use hearing aids regularly, they have:

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

Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss

Early death and hearing loss have a complicated connection. But an entire picture appears when all of the data is considered. It shows how hearing loss affects health, finances, relationships, and more. So the premature death link isn’t hard to comprehend.

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

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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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