Focus Hearing - Overland Park, KS


You likely already know 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 compelling research that shows a link between premature death and neglected hearing loss.

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

Research Linking Early Death to Hearing Loss

Norwegian scientists looked at the health data from over 50,000 people over a two-year period. They cross-referenced that data with the causes of death for the examined individuals. They could link a greater chance of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.

Other studies show that even moderate hearing loss is related to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people who have hearing loss, particularly if they live by themselves.

Clarifying The Connection

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

The Norwegian study further showed that men and women who were divorced and women with no kids were also at greater risk. This seemingly unrelated element suggests that the decrease in life expectancy may be connected to social ties.

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

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

Having relationships socially with other people has many life-extending benefits much like a herd of elephants or a pack of wolves:

  • Safety… If you need medical attention, you will be more likely to get it right away if there are more people nearby.
  • Physical stimulation… If you have people around you, you’re more likely to get physical exercise.
  • Motivation… Getting up in the morning, trying new things, and looking forward to their day can be strongly motivated by having others around.
  • Improved diet and health… Socially connected people frequently have better access to healthy food and can make it to doctor’s appointments.
  • Mental stimulation… You’re engaging with others in conversation, jokes, sharing, and more.
  • Support… A person with a robust social group is more likely to ask for help if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous by themselves).

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

How Hearing Loss Plays A Role in Social Separation And Decreased Longevity

You probably have a very close relationship with your loved ones. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss might change that.

Have you ever been in a room full of strangers enjoying the company of each other, but paying no attention to you? It was probably a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. It’s not that people are ignoring you. Actually, as the hearing loss progresses, it gets harder to have a casual conversation with you.

You often 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 result. Going out with friends to a restaurant and participating in a social club, event or hobby loses its enjoyment. Simply avoiding these types of situations becomes common. Additionally, many individuals experiencing advancing hearing loss have:

  • Mental exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia

These make social interactions even more difficult.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a positive side. They reached a significant conclusion after analyzing their research. Buying hearing aids can eliminate the link between premature death and hearing loss.

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

This fact can be backed by similar research. The American Academy of Audiology conducted one such study. That study revealed that wearing hearing aids regularly had the following benefits:

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

Neglected Hearing Loss Connected to Early Death

The connection between hearing loss and premature death is a complicated one. But an overall picture emerges when all of the data is considered. It reveals how hearing loss affects finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t difficult to comprehend.

It’s also clear 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.