Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
- Someone with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, as well. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. All these things add up to higher medical expenses.
The Newest Study
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, also. 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. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than people with normal hearing.
As time goes by, this amount continues to increase. Healthcare expenses rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
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:
- 3.6 more falls
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
Those stats correlate with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- About 2 percent of people aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Hearing loss presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Around 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. In the future, those figures are expected to rise. As many as 38 million people in this country could have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these figures, though. What they do recognize is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. Further research is necessary to determine if using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist right now.