Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with minor to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- Somebody with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
- The risk is triple for those with moderate hearing loss
The study showed that when somebody suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Study
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, too. This research was also run by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were examined. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. Healthcare costs rise by 46 percent after 10 years. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
Those figures correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
- Hearing loss presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The simple act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- There’s significant deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. In the future, those numbers are expected to go up. As many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss by the year 2060.
Wearing hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What is known is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To determine whether using hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, additional studies are necessary. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not. Make an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids are right for you.