Florida Hearing Matters - Fort Lauderdale, FL

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

The impact loss of hearing has on overall health has been studied for years. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the focus of a new study. As the cost of healthcare continues to escalate, the medical profession and individuals are looking for ways to lower these expenses. You can make a significant difference by something as simple as managing your hearing loss, according to a study put out on November 8 2018.

How Hearing Loss Affects Health

Untreated hearing loss comes with hidden risks, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. Researchers spent 12 years following adults with anywhere from slight to severe hearing loss and found it had a considerable effect on brain health. For example:

  • Someone with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
  • The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
  • Dementia is five times more likely in somebody suffering from severe hearing loss

The study showed that when somebody has hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain has 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. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these things add up to higher medical costs.

The Newest Study

The newest study published November in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that not dealing with hearing loss is a budget buster, also. 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 examined. People with normal hearing generated 26 percent less health care expenses than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.

That number continues to grow as time goes by. Healthcare expenses go up by 46 percent after a decade. When you break those numbers down, they add up to an average of $22,434 per person.

Some factors that are associated with the increase are:

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

A second associated study conducted by Bloomberg School indicates a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher morbidity. Some other findings from this study are:

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

Those figures match with the study by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

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

  • At this time, between two and three of every 1,000 children has hearing loss
  • As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
  • Approximately 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
  • Around 15 percent of young people aged 18 have difficulty hearing

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

The research doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is understood is that some health problems linked to hearing loss can be minimized by wearing hearing aids. To determine whether using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare, additional research is needed. It’s safe to say there are more reasons to wear them than not. To learn whether hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.