Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with mild to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only slight hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
The study revealed that when a person has hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain has 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 doesn’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. More expensive medical bills 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 becomes a budget buster if you decide not to deal with your hearing loss. This research was also run by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
They examined data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than individuals with normal hearing.
That amount continues to grow over time. After a ten year period, healthcare costs go up by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase like:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A second associated study done by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. 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
The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have a hard time hearing
- Loss of hearing currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Approximately 2 percent of individuals at the ages of 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. Those numbers are predicted to rise in the future. As many as 38 million individuals in this country may have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The research doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these figures, though. What is understood is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be decreased by using hearing aids. Further research is required to confirm if wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.