Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant impact on brain health in adults with minor to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- An individual with a severe hearing impairment has five times the chance of getting dementia
- Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- A person with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
The study showed that when somebody suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who doesn’t hear very well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. They are also prone to have depression. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Study
The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that it becomes a budget buster if you choose not to deal with your hearing loss. This study was also led by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were examined. Individuals with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to increase over time. Healthcare costs rise by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase like:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss had:
- 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 numbers correlate with the research by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
- At this time, between two and three out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
- About 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
- 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 over the age of 74. In the future, those numbers are expected to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
Using hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What is known is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. Further research is required to confirm if using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert to see if hearing aids are right for you.