Man with hearing loss going over financial loss.

For a long time, researchers have been considering the impact hearing loss has on a person’s health. Finding out what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. As the expense of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical community and consumers are searching for ways to lower these expenses. A study published on November 8, 2018, says a solution as basic as managing your hearing loss can help significantly.

How Health is Affected by Hearing Loss

There are hidden dangers with neglected hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with mild to extreme hearing loss. For example:

  • The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss

The study revealed that when someone suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.

Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, too. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more common. 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 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 analyzed 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 expenses than individuals with normal hearing.

That amount continues to grow over time. After a decade, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors associated with the increase like:

  • Lower quality of life
  • Falls
  • Depression
  • Decline of cognitive ability
  • Dementia

A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:

  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
  • 3.6 more falls
  • In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia

Those numbers match with the study by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is on The Rise

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • Around 2 percent of people at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
  • Hearing loss is widespread in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
  • The basic act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
  • Loss of hearing presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children

For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for someone over 74 it rises 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.

Using hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What they do recognize is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. To discover whether using hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, additional research is necessary. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist right now.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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