Ignoring Hearing Loss Can Increase Healthcare Expenses Over 40%

Man who is visiting doctor who is experincing hearing loss.

What’s the first thing you would you do if you could save 40% on healthcare expenses? Would you get yourself some new shoes? Would you spend a little more on your children? How about going on a vacation? Or maybe you’d just like to put that money in the bank.

Truth be told, there is something that could potentially be raising your healthcare costs. In fact, untreated hearing loss causes older adults to spend 46% more on healthcare expenses than others.

Let’s figure out just why untreated hearing loss takes such a costly toll on your health.

The cost of ignoring hearing loss

A study reported in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery showed that within just two years of being diagnosed with hearing loss a person who doesn’t get treated for hearing loss will spend 26% more on healthcare than someone who chose to get hearing aids. Within the first 10 years after diagnosis, they’ve spent over $22,000 and 46% more than their peers.

These additional costs take various forms which are clearly demonstrated through studies completed by accredited research institutions including Johns Hopkins.

Untreated hearing loss and hospitalization

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed over 70 thousand patient records. They found that within 10 years of diagnosis, those who chose not to get hearing aids had been admitted into the hospital 50% more times than those who got hearing loss treatment. They had a 44% higher risk of readmission within 30 days, and they were 17% more likely to end up in the ER.

Why do people with untreated hearing challenges end up in the hospital in the first place? To find out, we’ll need to look a bit deeper at what happens when you lose your hearing.

How does hearing loss change your brain?

A person who was born deaf or someone who lost their hearing younger in life isn’t the same as a person with age-related hearing loss who has had their hearing for 50, 60 or even 70 years. If you’ve had your hearing for a long time, your brain has built its structure around your ability to hear. It relies on your hearing and other senses to make sense of the world.

The loss of hearing at middle age or older causes the brain falter. Language comprehension, which is linked to your hearing, becomes a constant battle to understand and find words that once came so easily.

Your brain persists in its efforts to hear, and this exertion adds extra strain on the body. The unchecked stress from the struggle to hear and comprehend can have a large impact on your life.

Could any of these effects land you in the hospital? They certainly can. In fact, studies have very clearly linked untreated hearing loss to an increased risk of several medical and psychological conditions.

The consequences of untreated hearing loss

The risks of untreated hearing loss vary slightly from study to study, but the results have been consistent in showing statistically significant increased risk for many ailments. The most notable include:

  • Individuals with hearing loss are more likely to develop dementia.
  • Those with hearing loss are more likely to experience serious falls.
  • People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to have depression.

Can getting hearing aids minimize the health risks of untreated hearing loss?

Now that we’ve gone through the facts, you may be wondering if you can you do these studies in reverse. Can researchers show that the hearing aids are actually able to reduce risk? The answer is yes.

Studies can demonstrate this.

  • Using hearing aids can slow cognitive decline by 75%.
  • After just 2 weeks of consistently wearing hearing aids, brain function improves.
  • Hearing aids increase alertness, improve balance and reduce traumatic brain injuries caused by falls.

Are you currently dealing with untreated hearing loss, or maybe you’re not utilizing your hearing aids to their full extent? Rising healthcare costs provide yet another incentive to address your hearing issues. Consult with a hearing specialist today.

Want more information?

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