Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
- Someone with a severe hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person suffers from hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, too. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to have 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 it starts to be a budget breaker if you decide not to take care of 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 analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to increase over time. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after a ten year period. Those statistics, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A link between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- 3.6 more falls
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Presently, 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 simple act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
- There’s considerable deafness in individuals aged 45 to 54
The number goes up to 25 percent for individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted 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 figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What is recognized is that some health issues linked to hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. Further studies are necessary to determine if using hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right away.