Man with hearing loss going over financial loss.

The impact hearing loss has on general health has been examined for years. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. As the expense of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical profession and individuals are searching for ways to lower these costs. A study put out on November 8, 2018, says a solution as basic as taking care of your hearing loss can help significantly.

How Health is Affected by Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss comes with unseen dangers, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
  • The chance of getting dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss

The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury 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. A person who doesn’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.

The Newest Study

The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget buster if you decide not to deal with your loss of hearing. This study was also led by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.

They looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Individuals with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

Over time, this amount continues to increase. Over a ten year period, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors involved in the increase such as:

  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Lower quality of life
  • Falls
  • Cognitive decline

A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:

  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
  • 3.6 more falls
  • In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia

The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • Loss of hearing currently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
  • Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
  • Around 2 percent of individuals aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
  • The simple act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people aged 18

The number rises to 25 percent for individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise in the future. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.

The study doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do understand is that wearing hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. To figure out whether using hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, further studies are necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. Make an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids help you.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Main Line Audiology Consultants, PC