Man checking into hospital incurring healthcare costs because he did not take care of his hearing loss.

The impact hearing loss has on general health has been examined for years. Finding out what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. Consumers, as well as the medical profession, are looking for methods to lower the rising costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study put out on November 8 2018.

How Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a significant impact on brain health. For example:

  • The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
  • Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia
  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia

The study revealed that when someone has hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain needs to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.

Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, also. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical expenses.

The Newest Study

The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not dealing with hearing loss 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. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

That amount continues to increase as time goes by. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after 10 years. Those numbers, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors associated with the increase like:

  • Depression
  • Falls
  • Lower quality of life
  • Decline of cognitive ability
  • Dementia

A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered 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

The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.

Hearing Loss is on the Rise

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • Approximately 2 percent of people at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
  • Currently, two to three out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
  • As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
  • The basic act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18

The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss by the year 2060.

Using hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is known is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. Further studies are required to confirm if wearing hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. 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 professional right away.

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