Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from slight to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a considerable impact on brain health. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in individuals with only slight hearing loss
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker rate when a person has hearing loss. The brain has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to depression. 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 not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, too. 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. Individuals with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this amount continues to increase. After a ten year period, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase such as:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study done by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
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:
- At this time, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
- About 2 percent of individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- About 15 percent of young people aged 18 have trouble hearing
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are expected to rise in the future. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Using hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What is understood is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. To discover whether wearing hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, additional research is necessary. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not to. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.