Hearing Health Blog


You likely already recognize that smoking isn’t good for you and neither are things like living a sedentary lifestyle. But what most people probably don’t realize is that there is some convincing research that shows a link between early death and untreated hearing loss.

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

Studies Linking Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Norwegian researchers 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 studied people. Whatever the cause, early death could be connected to neglected hearing loss.

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

Clarifying The Link

For researchers, just because they uncover a connection doesn’t mean that a causality is firmly demonstrated. Determining what exactly the connection is will normally be the first thing they will attempt to do. What’s the common thread?

In this same research it was revealed that there was an increased risk in women with no kids and men and women who are divorced. This seemingly unrelated factor suggests that the decrease in life expectancy might be related to social ties.

Previous studies support this assumption. Data from more than half a million participants was assessed in a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology. It reported that the chance of early death was significantly raised by social separation.

How Does Social Stability Increase Longevity?

Much like a pack of wolves or a herd of elephants in nature, social connections offer numerous life-extending advantages to humans:

  • Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to get up and do things if you have people around.
  • Support… Someone who doesn’t have a strong social network is more likely to attempt to do something risky instead of asking for help.
  • Safety… If you require medical attention, you will be more likely to get it quickly if there are more people nearby.
  • Improved diet and health… Getting to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more readily available for individuals who are active socially.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
  • Motivation… Having people around can encourage a person to get up, do new things and look forward to their day.

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. How could that be changed by hearing loss?

Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying each other’s company, but ignoring you? You probably felt very lonely. You can begin to feel like this with untreated hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. The truth is, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets more difficult to have a casual conversation with you.

You often miss parts of the conversation and that makes you feel out of the loop. Physical and emotional withdrawal, even at family gatherings, can be the outcome. The enjoyment of going to a club or restaurant with friends starts to fade away. You may find that you simply avoid these types of interactions. Here are some other concerns that people who have progressing hearing loss cope with.:

  • Anxiety
  • Mental exhaustion
  • Paranoia

These make social interactions even more challenging.

However, in their research, the Norwegian scientists offer a positive side. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Purchasing hearing aids can eliminate the connection between premature death and hearing loss.

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

This fact can be supported by similar studies. One such study was performed by the American Academy of Audiology. They revealed that when individuals with hearing loss wear hearing aids consistently, they have:

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

Early Death Linked to Neglected Hearing Loss

The link between hearing loss and premature death is a complex one. But an overall picture appears when all of the data is taken into account. It reveals how hearing loss impacts health, finances, relationships, and more. So it’s easy to recognize why the early demise connection exists.

These studies also make it clear that managing hearing loss can counter its detrimental effects. You can keep living 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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