For many years, experts have been thinking about the effect hearing loss has on a person’s health. Understanding what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical profession, are looking for ways to reduce the rising costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as straightforward as managing your hearing loss, according to a study put out on November 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Affects Health
Neglected hearing loss comes with unseen hazards, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- An individual with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
The study revealed that when somebody suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, as well. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more common. Higher medical costs 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 it starts to be a budget breaker if you choose not to take care of your loss of hearing. 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 with untreated hearing loss were examined. Individuals with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to increase over time. After ten years, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. Those numbers, 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 link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
The study by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- The simple act of hearing is hard for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Hearing loss presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Around 2 percent of individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody above the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million individuals in this country could have hearing loss by the year 2060.
Using hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is known is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. Further research is necessary to determine if using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. It seems obvious there are more reasons to use them than not to. Make an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids are right for you.