Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- Someone with a severe hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker rate when a person suffers from hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.
Also, quality of life is affected. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who doesn’t hear well. 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 it starts to be a budget buster if you decide not to take care of your hearing loss. 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 analyzed. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to grow over time. Over a decade, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
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:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
Those stats correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
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
- The simple act of hearing is hard for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
- Loss of hearing presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- About 2 percent of individuals aged 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
The number rises to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. In the future, those figures are anticipated to go up. 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 is recognized is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. To figure out whether wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, further studies are necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids help you.