The impact hearing loss has on general health has been studied for years. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical profession, are searching for ways to reduce the escalating costs of healthcare. A study published on November 8, 2018, says a solution as basic as managing your hearing loss can make a significant difference.
How Health is Affected by Hearing Loss
Neglected hearing loss comes with hidden risks, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only slight hearing loss
The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical costs.
The Newest Research
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. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than individuals with normal hearing.
That number continues to grow as time goes by. After a decade, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they add up to an average of $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 a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- About 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- The simple act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
The number goes up to 25 percent for individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The research doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is recognized is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by using hearing aids. Further studies are necessary to confirm if wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional right away.