Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years tracking adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and found it had a significant impact on brain health. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
The study showed that when somebody suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more common. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Study
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget breaker if you decide not to deal with your loss of hearing. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
They analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Individuals with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to increase over time. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after a ten year period. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Cognitive decline
A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
Those stats 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 presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The simple act of hearing is hard for about 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 individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for people over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Those numbers are predicted to rise in the future. As many as 38 million people in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.
Wearing hearing aids can alter these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is recognized is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To determine whether wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, further research is necessary. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right away.