The Secret to a Longer Life
Have you ever wondered what the secret was to living to be over one hundred? Looking at research we’ve learned that genes account for only 25% of life expectancy. While most people attribute their long life to diet and exercise, research shows that it plays a much smaller role in comparison to face-to-face social interaction. It’s no wonder that for most of the developed world women on average live to be around 6-8 years longer than men, they are more likely to spend time in community with others.
There is one place, however, that both men and women are living to be around the same age. It’s a remote mountainous zone in Italian island of Sardinia of the coast of the Mediterranean called the blue zone. There are six times as many centenarians than on the mainland just 200 miles away. The reason for this-every part of their city is designed in a way that forces social interaction. Density is the blue zone’s main virtue. The houses are tightly spaces and line interwoven alleys and streets. This means that the villagers who live in the blue zone constantly interact with one another.
For most, we have replaced face-to-face social interaction with face-to-screen social media. Priorities changed during the industrial revolution as risk of infection and disease was more prevalent, therefore leading to less and less social interaction. “Now social isolation is the public health risk of our time,” Susan Pinker, researcher shares.
If we know that face-to-face communication is the number one leading cause of long life and that our biggest health risk of our time is social isolation it seems to be that the cure is to be in community more. For people with untreated hearing loss this can become hard to do and leave them feeling discouraged. The biggest part of face-to-face socialization is getting to truly socialize. If that’s constantly compromised by not being able to hear most of the conversation or spending most of it asking for it to be repeated the likelihood of socializing again is decreased.
One of the best ways to live a long and healthy life is to be intentional about face-to-face communication. Being part of small groups at church or community groups like Lions or Rotary, even a gardening or book club, can help give those face to face interactions. Get your family together for dinner once a week and tell them it is for your health!
We want to make sure that you’re able to do that in a way that offers the best hearing so that you can truly listen and engage with your community. If you’re noticing that you are less socially active, or that your social interactions are leaving you discouraged because of hearing loss, give us a call today for a complimentary hearing exam. We want to walk you through what your options are so that we can help you live a longer, healthier life.