The impact loss of hearing has on overall health has been studied for years. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the focus of a new study. As the cost of healthcare keeps rising, the medical community and consumers are searching for ways to lower these expenses. You can make a significant difference 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 untreated hearing loss, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
The study revealed that when somebody 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.
Also, quality of life is affected. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more common. More expensive medical bills 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 not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, also. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
They examined data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients 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.
As time goes by, this amount continues to increase. After a decade, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A second companion study conducted by Bloomberg School suggests a link between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 3.6 more falls
The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- About 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- The basic act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Presently, between two and three out of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for people over 74 it rises to 50 percent. Those numbers are anticipated to rise in the future. As many as 38 million individuals in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The research doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What they do recognize is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To figure out whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, more studies are necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to see if hearing aids help you.