The effect loss of hearing has on general health has been studied for years. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical community, are searching for ways 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 make a significant difference.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Health
There are unseen dangers with untreated hearing loss, as reported by 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 extreme hearing loss. For example:
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
- Somebody with a severe hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
The study revealed that when a person 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.
Also, quality of life is affected. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more likely. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Research
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, too. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.
They looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
As time goes by, this number continues to grow. After a ten year period, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A second companion study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- 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 basic act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
- There’s considerable deafness in people aged 45 to 54
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Loss of hearing presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are expected to rise over time. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is recognized is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To figure out whether using hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, further research is 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.