Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- A person with slight hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a quicker rate when a person has hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an impact on quality of life, as well. A person who can’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 Research
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not getting your hearing loss checked 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 than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this number continues to increase. After a ten year period, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
Those stats correlate with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The basic act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Approximately 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it rises to 50 percent. In the future, those numbers are expected to go up. As many as 38 million people in this country might have hearing loss by 2060.
Using hearing aids can alter these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What is understood is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be reduced by using hearing aids. Further studies are needed to confirm if wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. 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 away.