The impact hearing loss has on general health has been studied for years. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. As the cost of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical community and consumers are looking for ways to lower these costs. 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 Affected by Hearing Loss
Neglected hearing loss comes with unseen risks, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
- Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
- A person with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person has hearing loss. 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 impact on quality of life, as well. A person who doesn’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Study
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget breaker if you decide not to address your loss of hearing. This research was also run by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were examined. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to grow as time goes by. After ten years, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study done by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
Those figures correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- The simple act of hearing is difficult for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
- Around 2 percent of people at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Presently, between two and three out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for people over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Those numbers are expected to rise over time. As many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss by 2060.
Using hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What they do recognize is that using hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. Further studies are needed to determine if using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to use them than not. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist right now.