Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking adults with anywhere from slight to severe hearing loss and found it had a considerable effect on brain health. For example:
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss
- 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 at a faster rate. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, too. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to depression. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Study
The newest study 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 loss of hearing. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
They analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than individuals with normal hearing.
That number continues to grow over time. After a decade, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 3.6 more falls
Those figures correlate with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Approximately 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Hearing loss presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. In the future, those figures are predicted to go up. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What they do know is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To discover whether wearing hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, additional studies are needed. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care professional right now.