For many years, experts have been considering the impact hearing loss has on a person’s health. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the focus of a new study. As the expense of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical profession and individuals are looking for ways to lower these expenses. A study put out on November 8, 2018, says something as basic as taking care of your hearing loss can make a significant difference.
How Health is Affected by Hearing Loss
There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- A person with a severe hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
The study revealed that when someone has hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Also, quality of life is affected. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who doesn’t hear well. Depression is also more common. All these things add up to higher medical costs.
The Newest Study
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget breaker if you choose not to take care of your hearing loss. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were examined. Individuals with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
As time goes by, this number continues to grow. After a decade, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. Those numbers, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A link between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
Those stats match with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on the Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Presently, between two and three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- There’s considerable deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
- The simple act of hearing is hard for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Those numbers are predicted to rise in the future. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The study doesn’t mention how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is understood is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be minimized by using hearing aids. To determine whether wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare, further research is necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care specialist right now.