Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from minor to severe hearing loss and found it had a considerable impact on brain health. For example:
- The risk of dementia is doubled in individuals with only slight hearing loss
- Somebody with moderate hearing loss triples their risk of dementia
- Somebody with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the chance of developing dementia
The study showed that when someone has hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance.
The inability to hear has an impact on quality of life, too. A person who doesn’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 Research
The newest study 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 ran this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were analyzed. People with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
That amount continues to grow over time. After a decade, healthcare costs increase by 46 percent. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase such as:
- Cognitive decline
- Lower quality of life
A link between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested 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
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
- 3.6 more falls
The study by Johns Hopkins correlates with this one.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
- Loss of hearing presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- About 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
- There’s considerable deafness in people between the ages of 45 to 54
The number rises to 25 percent for individuals aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. Over time, those numbers are predicted to rise. By the year 2060, as many as 38 million people in this country may have hearing loss.
The study doesn’t mention how wearing hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is known is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be reduced by using hearing aids. To discover whether wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare, additional research is needed. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. Make an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids help you.