The effect loss of hearing has on general health has been studied for years. Understanding what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. As the cost of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical community and consumers are searching for ways to lower these expenses. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study put out on november 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Health
There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, as reported by 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 severe hearing loss. For example:
- The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person suffers from hearing loss. 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 impact on quality of life, as well. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to depression. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Study
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, too. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were examined. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than individuals with normal hearing.
That number continues to grow over time. After ten years, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
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 also suffered from:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
The research by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Loss of hearing presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- There’s significant deafness in people between the ages of 45 to 54
- Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted to rise in the future. As many as 38 million individuals in this country could have hearing loss by 2060.
The research doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What they do know is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. Further research is needed to confirm if wearing hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids are right for you.