Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- A person with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- The risk is triple for people with moderate loss of hearing
- A person with a severe hearing impairment has five times the risk of getting dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to injury because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, too. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. Depression is also more likely. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
The Newest Research
The newest research published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget buster if you decide 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.
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.
As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. Healthcare costs rise by 46 percent after a ten year period. When you analyze the numbers, they average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A second companion study done by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. Some other findings from this study are:
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
Those stats correlate with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is Increasing
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- There’s significant deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
- The simple act of hearing is hard for about 15 percent of young people aged 18
- Hearing loss presently impacts 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it rises to 50 percent. In the future, those numbers are anticipated to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The research doesn’t mention how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do recognize is that wearing hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. Further research is necessary to confirm if using hearing aids lowers the cost of healthcare. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to use them than not. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right away.