The impact loss of hearing has on general health has been examined for years. New research takes a different approach by looking at what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget. As the expense of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical community and individuals are looking for ways to lower these costs. You can make a significant difference by something as straightforward as managing your hearing loss, according to a study published on november 8 2018.
How Hearing Loss Affects Health
Untreated hearing loss comes with hidden risks, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking adults with anywhere from slight to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a considerable impact on brain health. For example:
- A person with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss
The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
The inability to hear has an impact on quality of life, too. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Study
The newest study 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 led this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to grow over time. After a ten year period, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. 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:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
Those figures correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- There’s significant deafness in those 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
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Hearing loss currently effects 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 above the age of 74. In the future, those numbers are expected to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Using hearing aids can alter these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is recognized is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To discover whether using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, additional research is needed. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids help you.