Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a faster rate when a person has hearing loss. The brain needs to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, as well. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these factors add up to higher medical costs.
The Newest Research
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 led this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to grow as time goes by. After ten years, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase such as:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study done by Bloomberg School suggests a link between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
The research by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Around 2 percent of people aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Hearing loss is widespread in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- At this time, 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
- The basic act of hearing is hard for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
The number rises to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. 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.
The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do recognize is that wearing hearing aids can get rid of some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To determine whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, additional research is needed. It seems obvious there are more reasons to use them than not. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.