For a long time, researchers have been considering the effect hearing loss has on a person’s health. Understanding what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical community, are searching for methods to lower the soaring costs of healthcare. A study published on November 8, 2018, says something as simple as managing your hearing loss can help significantly.
How Health is Affected by Hearing Loss
Neglected hearing loss comes with hidden hazards, as reported by 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
- A person with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- A person with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person suffers from 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 effect on quality of life, also. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to depression. All these factors 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 it becomes a budget breaker if you decide not to take care of your loss of hearing. 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 examined. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after a ten year period. Those statistics, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase like:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A link between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins matches 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
- There’s significant deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
- Around 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
- Hearing loss is widespread in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for someone over 74 it rises to 50 percent. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million individuals in this country could have hearing loss by the year 2060.
Using hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t show. What they do understand is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. Further research is required to determine if using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would help you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist right away.