Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and found it had a significant effect on brain health. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
- Someone with minor hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
The study showed that when someone suffers from 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 impact on quality of life, as well. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Research
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it starts to be a budget breaker if you decide not to take care of your loss of hearing. This research was also run by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They looked at 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 expenses than people with normal hearing.
As time goes by, this number continues to grow. Over ten years, healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase such as:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
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
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The research by Johns Hopkins matches with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- About 2 percent of people at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Presently, between two and three of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
- Approximately 15 percent of young people aged 18 have a hard time hearing
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone above the age of 74. In the future, those figures are expected to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The study doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do know is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health problems connected with hearing loss. Further research is required to confirm if wearing hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, undoubtedly. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids help you.