Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from minor to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a considerable impact on brain health. For example:
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
The study revealed that when a person 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 like maintaining balance.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who doesn’t hear well. Depression is also more likely. All these factors add up to higher medical costs.
The Newest Study
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget buster if you decide not to deal with your loss of hearing. This study was also run by experts 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. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than people with normal hearing.
That amount continues to grow as time goes by. After ten years, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase like:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A connection between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
The research by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- The basic act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
- There’s significant deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted to rise over time. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What is understood is that some health issues linked to hearing loss can be reduced by using hearing aids. To determine whether using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, more research is needed. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. Make an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids are right for you.