Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a significant effect on brain health. For example:
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
- Someone with a severe hearing impairment has five times the risk of developing dementia
- Somebody with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
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.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, as well. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. All these things add up to higher medical expenses.
The Newest Research
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget buster if you decide not to deal with your hearing loss. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to grow over time. Over a ten year period, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase like:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a link between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. 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:
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- The simple act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
- About 2 percent of individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Presently, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted to rise over time. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What they do recognize is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. To determine whether using hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, more studies are necessary. 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 away.