Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss
The study showed that when a person 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.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, also. A person who doesn’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. All these factors 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 it starts to be a budget breaker if you choose not to deal with your loss of hearing. This research was also run by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They examined data from 77,000 to 150,000 people 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 increase over time. Healthcare expenses rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A second companion study done by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
Those figures correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss is common in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- Approximately 15 percent of young people aged 18 have difficulty hearing
- There’s considerable deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
- At this time, two to three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Over time, those numbers are predicted to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The research doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is known is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. Further studies are necessary to confirm if using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. It seems obvious there are more reasons to wear them than not. To find out if hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.