The effect loss of hearing has on overall health has been studied for years. Finding out what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. As the cost of healthcare keeps rising, the medical profession and consumers are looking for ways to lower these costs. 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 Hearing Loss Affects Health
There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a considerable effect on brain health. For example:
- The risk is triple for those with moderate hearing loss
- An individual with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of developing dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
The study showed that when someone suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear very 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 issues.
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.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were examined. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to increase as time goes by. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after a ten year period. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered 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 matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Approximately 15 percent of young people aged 18 have trouble hearing
- Around 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
The number rises 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. As many as 38 million individuals in this country may have hearing loss by 2060.
The study doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do know is that using hearing aids can get rid of some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. Further studies are necessary to confirm if wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.