Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from mild to severe hearing loss and found it had a significant impact on brain health. For example:
- The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only minor hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- An individual with a severe hearing impairment has five times the risk of developing dementia
The study reveals that the brain atrophies at a faster pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
Also, quality of life is affected. A person who can’t hear well is more likely to have anxiety and stress. Depression is also more likely. Higher medical costs are the result of all of these factors.
The Newest Research
The newest research 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 led this study.
They looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care costs compared to people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That number continues to grow over time. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after 10 years. Those numbers, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
Some factors that are associated with the increase are:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
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 on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- About 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Around 15 percent of young people aged 18 have a hard time hearing
- Hearing loss presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for people over 74 it rises to 50 percent. Those numbers are expected to rise in the future. As many as 38 million people in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.
The study doesn’t mention how wearing hearing aids can change these figures, though. What they do know is that using hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. To determine whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, more research is necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional right away.