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

For years, experts have been considering the effect hearing loss has on a person’s health. New research takes a different approach by examining what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget. Individuals, as well as the medical profession, are searching for ways to lower the rising costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as straightforward as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study put out on November 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Affects Health

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

  • The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
  • The chance of getting dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
  • Somebody with a severe hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia

The study shows that the brain atrophies at a faster rate when a person suffers from hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.

Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, as well. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. 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 it starts to be a budget buster if you choose not to take care of your loss of hearing. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also ran this study.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than individuals with normal hearing.

Over time, this amount continues to increase. Healthcare expenses rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are involved in the increase are:

  • Falls
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Cognitive decline
  • Lower quality of life

A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:

  • In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
  • 3.6 more falls

Those figures match with the research by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is on the Rise

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

  • Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
  • There’s significant deafness in people aged 45 to 54
  • Currently, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
  • Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing

For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for someone over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million individuals in this country may have hearing loss by the year 2060.

The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is recognized is that some health issues associated with hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. To discover whether wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, further research is needed. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.