Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace 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.
The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, also. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. 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, 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 patients 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 costs than people with normal hearing.
Over time, this number continues to increase. Over a ten year period, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a link between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 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 study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Loss of hearing presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The basic act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- There’s significant deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. In the future, those figures are anticipated to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What they do know is that using hearing aids can prevent some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. Further research is required to determine if wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. It seems obvious there are more reasons to wear them than not to. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids help you.