Untreated Hearing Loss Raises Healthcare Costs More Than 40%

Man with hearing loss going over financial loss.

For years, experts have been considering the impact hearing loss has on a person’s health. Understanding what neglected hearing loss can do to your healthcare spending is the focus of a new study. Consumers, as well as the medical community, are searching for ways to lower the escalating costs of healthcare. You can reduce it significantly by something as simple as taking care of your hearing loss, according to a study put out on November 8 2018.

How Health is Impacted by Hearing Loss

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

  • Someone with moderate hearing loss triples their chance of getting dementia
  • Someone with minor hearing loss doubles their risk of dementia
  • An individual with a extreme hearing impairment has five times the risk of developing dementia

The study revealed that when a person suffers from hearing loss, their brain atrophies at a faster rate. The brain is put under stress that can lead to damage because it has to work harder to do things such as maintaining balance.

Also, quality of life is affected. Stress and anxiety are more likely in a person who doesn’t hear well. They are also prone to have depression. All these factors add up to higher medical expenses.

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. The University of California San Fransisco, Johns Hopkins with AARP, and Optum Labs also led this study.

77,000 to 150,000 patients with untreated hearing loss were examined. Only two years after the diagnosis of hearing loss, patients generated almost 26 percent more health care costs than people with normal hearing.

That amount continues to increase over time. Healthcare costs go up by 46 percent after 10 years. When you break those numbers down, they average $22,434 per person.

The study lists factors involved in the increase including:

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

A second companion study conducted by Bloomberg School suggests a connection between untreated hearing loss and higher mortality. They also found that people with untreated hearing loss also suffered from:

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

Those figures match with the study by Johns Hopkins.

Hearing Loss is Increasing

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

  • Around 2 percent of those aged 45 to 54 are noticeably deaf
  • Around 15 percent of young people 18 years old have trouble hearing
  • Loss of hearing currently effects 2 to 3 out of every 1,0000 children
  • As many as 8.5 percent of 55-to-64-year-olds have loss of hearing

The number goes up to 25 percent for people aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent for anybody over the age of 74. Those numbers are expected to rise over time. As many as 38 million people in this country might have hearing loss by the year 2060.

Using hearing aids can alter these figures, though, which the study doesn’t touch on. What they do understand is that using hearing aids can get rid of some of the health problems associated with hearing loss. To determine whether wearing hearing aids diminishes the cost of healthcare, further studies are necessary. There are more benefits to wearing them than not, without a doubt. To find out if hearing aids would benefit you, make an appointment with a hearing care professional right now.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.