Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a considerable effect on brain health in adults with minor to extreme hearing loss. For example:
- Somebody with slight hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
- Someone with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of developing dementia
- The risk is triple for those with moderate loss of hearing
The study shows that the brain atrophies at a quicker pace when a person has hearing loss. The brain has to work harder to do things like maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to damage.
Poor hearing has an impact on quality of life, too. A person who can’t hear very well is more likely to feel anxiety and stress. Depression is also more common. More expensive medical bills are the result of all of these issues.
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, also. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.
77,000 to 150,000 patients who had untreated hearing loss were analyzed. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care expenses than individuals with normal hearing.
That amount continues to increase over time. Over a decade, healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent. Those figures, when analyzed, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors involved in the increase including:
- Lower quality of life
- Decline of cognitive ability
A connection between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is suggested by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. Some other findings from this study are:
- 3.6 more falls
- In the course of ten years, 3.2 more cases of dementia
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
The study 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
- Currently, between two and three of every 1,000 children has loss of hearing
- There’s significant deafness in individuals aged 45 to 54
- The simple act of hearing is hard for around 15 percent of young people aged 18
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 numbers are anticipated to go up. As many as 38 million individuals in this country might have hearing loss by 2060.
The study doesn’t touch on how using hearing aids can change these numbers, though. What is recognized is that some health problems associated with hearing loss can be decreased by wearing hearing aids. To discover whether using hearing aids decreases the cost of healthcare, additional studies are needed. It seems obvious there are more reasons to wear them than not to. To learn whether hearing aids would help you, schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist right now.