Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and found it had a significant effect on brain health. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
The study showed that when someone has hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, too. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. All these factors 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 choose not to deal with your hearing loss. This study was also led by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than people with normal hearing.
That number continues to increase over time. Healthcare costs rise by 46 percent after a ten year period. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase such as:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a link between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
Those figures correlate 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 currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The simple act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Around 2 percent of individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Over time, those figures are anticipated to go up. As many as 38 million individuals in this country could have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The study doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is known is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be minimized by wearing hearing aids. To figure out whether wearing hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, more research is needed. It seems obvious there are more reasons to use them than not. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.