Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:
- The risk is triple for people with moderate hearing loss
- A person with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
The study revealed that when a person has hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
Poor hearing has an effect on quality of life, also. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical expenses.
The Newest Research
The newest study 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.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Individuals with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
As time goes by, this number continues to increase. After a ten year period, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. Those statistics, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are involved in the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A second companion study done by Bloomberg School indicates a link between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
- About 15 percent of young people 18 years old have difficulty hearing
- There’s significant deafness in people aged 45 to 54
- Presently, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Over time, those figures are predicted to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Using hearing aids can alter these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is known is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. Further research is required to determine if wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not. To find out if hearing aids would help you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right away.