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Man checking into hospital incurring healthcare costs because he did not take care of his hearing loss.

For many years, experts have been investigating the impact hearing loss has on a person’s health. Understanding what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the aim of a new study. As the expense of healthcare keeps rising, the medical profession and individuals are searching for ways to lower these expenses. You can reduce it significantly by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study put out on november 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Affects Health

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
  • The risk of dementia is doubled in people with only slight hearing loss
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone who has severe hearing loss

The study showed that when somebody has hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as 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 feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to 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 breaker if you choose not to deal with your hearing loss. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than people with normal hearing.

That number continues to increase over time. Healthcare expenses rise by 46 percent after 10 years. When you analyze the numbers, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are associated with the increase are:

  • Decline of cognitive ability
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Lower quality of life
  • Falls

A connection between untreated hearing loss and an increased rate of mortality is suggested by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss had:

  • 3.6 more falls
  • 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression

The research by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have hearing loss
  • There’s significant deafness in people between the ages of 45 to 54
  • Currently, two to three out of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
  • The basic act of hearing is challenging for around 15 percent of young people around the age of 18

For those aged 64 to 74 the number goes up to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it rises to 50 percent. Those numbers are anticipated to rise over time. As many as 38 million people in this country might have hearing loss by 2060.

Using hearing aids can alter these numbers, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What they do know is that wearing hearing aids can get rid of some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. To discover whether using hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, further research is needed. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care professional right away.

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