Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
- Somebody with slight hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
- 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 faster. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, also. A person who doesn’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to 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 not getting your hearing loss checked is a budget buster, also. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.
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.
That number continues to increase over time. Over a ten year period, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
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:
- Around 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- There’s significant deafness in individuals aged 45 to 54
- Presently, 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
The number rises to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss by the year 2060.
Wearing hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What they do recognize is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To figure out whether using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare, more studies are necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. Make an appointment with a hearing care professional to see if hearing aids are right for you.