The effect 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 community, are looking for methods to lower the escalating costs of healthcare. A study put out on November 8, 2018, says a solution as basic as managing your hearing loss can help significantly.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Health
There are unseen hazards with untreated hearing loss, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from slight to severe hearing loss and found it had a considerable effect on brain health. For example:
- An individual with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
The study showed that when a person has hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain has 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 effect on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical expenses.
The Newest Research
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not dealing with hearing loss is a budget buster, too. This study was also run by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They examined data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to grow over time. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A second associated study done by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- The simple act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Approximately 2 percent of individuals aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Currently, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. Over time, those numbers are expected to go up. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The research doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What they do know is that wearing hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. To discover whether wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, further studies are needed. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with us right now.