Premature Death Can Sometimes be Connected to Neglected Hearing Loss


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

Individual life expectancy varies widely, of course. 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 appear to die earlier.

Research Connecting Premature Death to Hearing Loss

Over a two year period, data from more than 50,000 individuals was examined by Norwegian scientists. The cases of death for all the people were cross-referenced with the data. They were able to link a greater chance of early death to hearing loss irrespective of the cause of death.

Other research reveals that even mild hearing loss is linked to a 21% higher morbidity rate and that there’s an increased risk of cardiovascular death for people with hearing loss, particularly if they live alone.

Clarifying The Connection

Any time scientists discover a connection, they never presume that one is necessarily causing the other. Determining what exactly the connection is will usually be the first thing they will try to do. What’s the common connection?

In this same research it was reported that there was a greater risk in women with no children and women and men who are divorced. This indicates that social life has an impact on longevity.

This presumption is backed by earlier studies. One study published in the Journal of Epidemiology examined the data for over half a million participants. It discovered that social solitude increases the danger of early death considerably.

How is Longevity Increased by Social Stability?

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

  • Mental stimulation… You’re sharing, joking and conversing with others.
  • Safety… When there are more people around, there’s a greater danger you’ll receive medical attention immediately if you need it.
  • Support… A person with a strong social network is more likely to ask for assistance if they need it (instead of trying to do something dangerous on their own).
  • Motivation… Getting up in the morning, doing new things, and looking forward to their day can be greatly motivated by having others around.
  • Physical stimulation… You’re more likely to go out and do things if you have people around.
  • Improved diet and health… Making it to doctor’s appointments is easier and healthy food is more immediately available for people who are socially active.

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

Decreased Longevity And Social Isolation Can be The Consequence of Neglected Hearing Loss

You probably have family who will always be there for you. It’s difficult to envision how hearing loss may 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 most likely a lonely feeling. You can begin to feel like this with neglected hearing loss. People aren’t necessarily ignoring you. It seems like you’re being ignored because people are starting to have a tough time having a conversation with you.

On your side of things, you often 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. The appeal of going to a restaurant or club with friends starts to fade away. Simply avoiding these types of scenarios becomes common. In addition, many individuals suffering from worsening hearing loss have:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Mental exhaustion

Social connections become even more challenging because of these.

However, in their research, the Norwegian researchers offer a silver lining. They reached a very important conclusion after examining their research. Investing in hearing aids can clear away the link 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.

This fact can be backed by similar studies. One such study was conducted by the American Academy of Audiology. That study revealed that using hearing aids consistently had the following benefits:

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

Untreated Hearing Loss Linked to Early Death

Premature death and hearing loss have a complex association. But when we combine the abundance of data, an entire picture appears. It reveals how hearing loss impacts finances, health, relationships, and more. So the premature death connection isn’t hard to understand.

It’s also clear that having your hearing loss treated can counter the effects of hearing loss on each part of life. You will live a longer, socially active and healthier life.


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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    Dr. Laura Padham, Audiologist

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