HEARING TIPS

If You Have Untreated Hearing Loss Your Healthcare Costs Could be up to 40% More

Man checking into hospital incurring healthcare costs because he did not take care of his hearing loss.

For many years, researchers have been investigating the effect loss of hearing has on a person’s health. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the focus of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical community, are searching for ways to lower the soaring costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study published on november 8 2018.

How Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
  • Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss
  • Someone with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia

The study showed that when someone 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. They are also prone to depression. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.

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 led this study.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

That number continues to increase over time. Over a decade, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are involved in the increase are:

  • Falls
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Cognitive decline
  • Lower quality of life

A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:

  • 3.6 more falls
  • 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression

Those stats match with the study by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

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

  • The simple act of hearing is difficult for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
  • Approximately 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
  • Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
  • Presently, between two and three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing

The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody above the age of 74. In the future, those numbers are predicted to rise. 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 they do know is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. Further research is necessary to confirm if wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.

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