Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia
The study revealed that when somebody suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, too. 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 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. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than individuals with normal hearing.
That amount continues to grow as time goes by. Healthcare costs rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you analyze the numbers, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
Those figures match with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss is widespread in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- About 15 percent of young people aged 18 have a hard time hearing
- Hearing loss currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Approximately 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for people over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Over time, those figures are expected to go up. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is recognized is that some health issues linked to hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To figure out whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, further studies are necessary. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not to. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care professional right now.