Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with minor to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain needs to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more common. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Research
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 choose not to take care of your loss of hearing. This study was also led by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were examined. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than people with normal hearing.
As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. After ten years, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those numbers, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A connection between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
Those numbers match with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Approximately 2 percent of people aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
- About 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
- Presently, two to three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for someone over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. In the future, those figures are expected to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The research doesn’t touch on how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is known is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. To figure out whether using hearing aids reduces 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 away.