Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and discovered it had a significant effect on brain health. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
- Someone with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
The study reveals 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.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, as well. A person who doesn’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Study
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget buster if you choose not to take care of your hearing loss. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were examined. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than individuals with normal hearing.
Over time, this number continues to grow. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after a ten year period. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
Those numbers match with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Around 15 percent of young people aged 18 have trouble hearing
- Currently, between two and three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
- There’s significant deafness in individuals aged 45 to 54
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise in the future. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What they do know is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. To determine whether wearing hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, more studies are necessary. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would help you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.