For a long time, researchers have been thinking about the impact loss of hearing has on a person’s health. New research takes a different approach by examining what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending. Individuals, as well as the medical profession, are searching for ways to lower the soaring costs of healthcare. You can reduce it significantly by something as simple as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study published on November 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Affects Health
There are hidden risks with neglected hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
The study revealed that when someone has 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 impact on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more likely. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Research
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not dealing with hearing loss is a budget buster, too. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
They looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to increase over time. After a decade, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. Those numbers, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase such as:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- There’s considerable deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
- Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
- Loss of hearing currently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
The number rises to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. Over time, those figures are expected to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t show. What they do know is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To determine whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, further research is needed. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care professional right away.