Hearing Health Blog

Man with hearing loss going over financial loss.

The effect hearing loss has on general health has been examined for years. New research approaches it from a different angle by evaluating what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget. As the cost of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical profession and individuals are looking 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 put out on November 8 2018.

How Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

There are unseen hazards with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
  • The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
  • Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss

The study showed that when someone suffers from 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 such as maintaining balance.

The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, also. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to depression. All these things add up to higher medical costs.

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. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Just 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 amount continues to increase. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after 10 years. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are associated with the increase are:

  • Dementia
  • Decline of cognitive ability
  • Lower quality of life
  • Falls
  • Depression

A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:

  • 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:

  • As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
  • There’s significant deafness in people between the ages of 45 to 54
  • At this time, two to three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
  • The simple act of hearing is hard for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18

The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Over time, those numbers are anticipated to go up. 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 figures, though. What they do recognize is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. Further research is needed to determine if using hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional right now.

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.
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