Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with mild to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- A person with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- An individual with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain needs 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 doesn’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 costs.
The Newest Research
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget breaker if you decide 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.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Individuals with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this number continues to grow. Healthcare costs go up by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- 3.6 more falls
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
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 prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Hearing loss presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Approximately 2 percent of people aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Around 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
The number goes up to 25 percent for individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted to rise in the future. As many as 38 million individuals in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The study doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is understood is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by using hearing aids. Further studies are necessary to confirm if wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care specialist right away.