Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with mild to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
The study showed that when somebody has hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical costs.
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. This research was also run by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this number continues to grow. Healthcare expenses rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase like:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
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:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
The research by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- The simple act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
- Loss of hearing currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- There’s considerable deafness in those between the ages of 45 to 54
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for people over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. In the future, those numbers are predicted to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do understand is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. Further studies are necessary to confirm if wearing hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to use them than not to. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids help you.