Hearing Services of Nashville

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

The impact hearing loss has on general health has been examined for years. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. As the expense of healthcare keeps rising, the medical profession and individuals are searching for ways to lower these costs. You can make a significant difference by something as straightforward as managing your hearing loss, according to a study put out on november 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Health

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • A person with slight hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
  • The risk is triple for those with moderate hearing loss
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss

The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person suffers from hearing loss. The brain needs 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 can’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more common. All these things 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 dealing with hearing loss is a budget buster, too. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.

They analyzed data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. 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 amount continues to grow. After a ten year period, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors associated with the increase such as:

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

A second associated study done by Bloomberg School indicates a link 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 on the Rise

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • About 15 percent of young people aged 18 have difficulty hearing
  • Around 2 percent of people at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
  • Hearing loss currently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
  • Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent

The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. Those numbers are predicted to rise over time. As many as 38 million individuals in this country might have hearing loss by 2060.

Wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is understood is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be reduced by wearing hearing aids. Further studies are necessary to confirm if using hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. 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 professional right now.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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