Johns Hopkins Medicine. After 12 years of studying it, researchers found that there was a significant effect on brain health in adults with mild to severe hearing loss. For example:
- Dementia is five times more likely in somebody who has severe hearing loss
- The chance of getting dementia is doubled in individuals with only minor hearing loss
- The risk is triple for those with moderate hearing loss
The study revealed that when someone suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain needs to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance, and that puts stress on it that can lead to injury.
The inability to hear has an impact on quality of life, as well. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who doesn’t hear well. Depression is also more likely. 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 dealing with hearing loss is a budget buster, too. This study was also led by researchers from Johns Hopkins in collaboration with AARP, the University of California San Francisco and Optum Labs.
77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were examined. Individuals with normal hearing created 26 percent less health care costs than people who were recently diagnosed with hearing loss.
Over time, this number continues to grow. Healthcare expenses increase by 46 percent after 10 years. Those figures, when broken down, average $22,434 per person.
The study lists factors associated with the increase such as:
- Decline of cognitive ability
- Lower quality of life
A connection between untreated hearing loss and a higher rate of mortality is indicated by a second study conducted by the Bloomberg School. They also uncovered that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:
- 3.2 more diagnoses of dementia per 100 over the course of 10 years
- 3.6 more falls
- 6.9 more diagnoses of depression
Those stats correlate with the study by Johns Hopkins.
Hearing Loss is on The Rise
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:
- About 2 percent of those at the ages of 45 to 54 are significantly deaf
- Loss of hearing presently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
- The simple act of hearing is challenging for about 15 percent of young people around the age of 18
- Up to 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing
The number rises to 25 percent for those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anyone over the age of 74. Over time, those numbers are predicted to rise. As many as 38 million people in this country could have hearing loss by 2060.
Using hearing aids can change these figures, though, which the study doesn’t indicate. What they do know is that wearing hearing aids can prevent some of the health issues connected with hearing loss. To determine whether using hearing aids lessens the cost of healthcare, additional research is needed. There are more reasons to wear them than not, without a doubt. Schedule an appointment with a hearing care specialist to see if hearing aids are right for you.