HEARING TIPS

If You Have Untreated Hearing Loss Your Healthcare Costs Could be up to 40% More

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

For many years, experts have been considering the effect loss of hearing has on a person’s health. Finding out what untreated hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the aim of a new study. Individuals, as well as the medical community, are looking for ways to lower the soaring costs of healthcare. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study published on November 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Health

There are hidden risks with untreated hearing loss, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of tracking it, researchers found that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • Somebody with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss

The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.

Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, also. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. They are also prone to depression. More expensive medical bills 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 starts to be a budget breaker if you choose 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 looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 patients over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

Over time, this amount continues to grow. Healthcare costs 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:

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

A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study done by the Bloomberg School. 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

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:

  • At this time, 2 to 3 of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
  • There’s considerable deafness in individuals between the ages of 45 to 54
  • Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
  • The simple act of hearing is difficult for around 15 percent of young people aged 18

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

The research doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What they do know is that using hearing aids can eliminate some of the health issues associated with hearing loss. To figure out whether wearing hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, more research is needed. It seems obvious there are more reasons to use them than not to. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids are right for you.

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