The impact loss of hearing has on general health has been studied for years. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. Consumers, as well as the medical profession, are searching for ways to lower the rising costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as straightforward as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study published on November 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Health
There are unseen dangers with neglected hearing loss, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking 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 people with moderate loss of hearing
- Someone with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
- A person with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person suffers from 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.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Research
The newest research 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 research was also led 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. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than people with normal hearing.
Over time, this number continues to increase. After ten years, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A second companion study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a link between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 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:
- The basic act of hearing is hard for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Around 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- Loss of hearing currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for someone over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Over time, those numbers are expected to go up. As many as 38 million individuals in this country may have hearing loss by 2060.
The study doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is known is that some health issues linked to hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. Further studies are required to confirm if using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to use them than not to. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right away.