Healthcare Cost Can be Over 40% Higher if You Have Untreated Hearing Loss

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

The effect loss of hearing has on general health has been examined for years. Finding out what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare budget is the focus of a new study. Consumers, as well as the medical community, are looking for ways to lower the rising costs of healthcare. 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 Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss comes with hidden risks, as reported by Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers discovered that there was a considerable impact on brain health in adults with minor to severe hearing loss. For example:

  • Somebody with slight hearing loss has two times the risk of dementia
  • Dementia is five times more likely in someone suffering from severe hearing loss
  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia

The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies faster. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.

The inability to hear has an effect on quality of life, too. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who can’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.

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 deal with your loss of hearing. This study was also led by experts from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.

They looked at data from 77,000 to 150,000 people over the age of 50 who had untreated hearing loss. Just two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than people with normal hearing.

As time goes by, this amount continues to grow. Over a ten year period, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those statistics, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors associated with the increase like:

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

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

  • 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
  • In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
  • 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:

  • Hearing loss is prevalent in 55 to 64 year olds at a rate of 8.5 percent
  • Approximately 15 percent of young people 18 years old have difficulty hearing
  • Hearing loss currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
  • Around 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf

For those aged 64 to 74 the number rises to 25 percent and for individuals over 74 it goes up to 50 percent. In the future, those numbers are anticipated to go up. As many as 38 million individuals in this country could have hearing loss by the year 2060.

Using hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t show. What is known is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be minimized by using hearing aids. Further studies are needed to determine if wearing hearing aids reduces the cost of healthcare. There are more reasons to wear them than not, undoubtedly. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care expert right now.

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