Man checking into hospital incurring healthcare costs because he did not take care of his hearing loss.

The effect loss of hearing has on general health has been examined for years. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. As the cost of healthcare keeps rising, the medical profession and consumers are looking for ways to lower these expenses. You can reduce it significantly by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study published on November 8 2018.

How Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from minor to severe hearing loss and found it had a considerable impact on brain health. For example:

  • Somebody with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
  • A person with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia

The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person suffers from hearing loss. The brain has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.

Also, quality of life is affected. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. 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 not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, also. This study was also led 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 costs than individuals with normal hearing.

As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. Over a decade, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are associated with the increase are:

  • Lower quality of life
  • Depression
  • Falls
  • Dementia
  • Decline of cognitive ability

A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates 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

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:

  • There’s considerable deafness in individuals aged 45 to 54
  • The basic act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
  • Presently, 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
  • Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent

The number goes up to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody above the age of 74. Those numbers are expected to rise over time. 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 numbers, though. What is understood is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. To discover whether wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare, further research is necessary. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids are right for you.