Man checking into hospital incurring healthcare costs because he did not take care of his hearing loss.

For many years, experts have been investigating the effect loss of hearing has on a person’s health. New research approaches it from a different angle by examining what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending. Consumers, as well as the medical community, are searching for methods to lower the soaring costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study put out on november 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Affects Health

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking 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
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss
  • Somebody with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia

The study showed that when somebody has 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 can’t hear 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 Study

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, also. This study was also led by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with 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.

That number continues to increase as time goes by. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after a ten year period. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors involved in the increase such as:

  • Depression
  • Falls
  • Decline of cognitive ability
  • Lower quality of life
  • Dementia

A link between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:

  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
  • 3.6 more falls
  • In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia

Those stats correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • About 2 percent of people aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
  • The simple act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
  • Loss of hearing presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
  • Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent

The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody above the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise in the future. As many as 38 million individuals in this country may have hearing loss by 2060.

The research doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do understand is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. Further research is needed to determine if using hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids help you.

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