Around 38 million Americans have a hearing loss, but less than 8 million wear hearing aids. Recent research from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine shows the cost of untreated hearing loss in older adults is in the tens of thousands of dollars. That is just the financial cost – there are also far-reaching social and health consequences.
Rising health care costs
The lead author of the Johns Hopkins report on the cost of untreated hearing loss, Nicholas Reed, wrote, “Older adults with untreated hearing loss experience higher healthcare costs and utilization patterns compared with adults without hearing loss.”
What this means in practice becomes clear when we take a closer look at the results:
- Extra medical bills amounting to at least $22,000 over a 10-year period
- Health care costs that are 46% higher than those without a hearing loss
- Longer stays in the hospital
- A higher risk of being admitted back into the hospital within one month of being discharged
Considering the widespread effects untreated hearing loss can have on an individual’s quality of life, these increased costs aren’t surprising.
Health and social consequences
A recent British study has shown that hearing loss has a negative impact on relationships, particularly with a significant other or spouse. This is due both to the inherent difficulties in holding a conversation when one person can’t hear the other properly, as well as the exhaustion that comes from straining to hear conversations all day, which can leave the person with a hearing loss feeling frustrated, irritable, and more prone to lashing out.
While the relationship with a significant other or spouse may be put under the greatest strain from the daily grind of dealing with an untreated hearing loss, other relationships can also suffer, including those at work.
Research has also shown that hearing loss can increase your chances of developing dementia. This is not as surprising as it sounds, given that the brain is known to weaken as it receives less stimulation from sounds. This can lead to cognitive decline.
Take action to protect your hearing
It is important to get your hearing health checked throughout your life, but increasingly so after the age of 50, when hearing loss becomes more likely. Routine hearing tests can pick up the early signs of hearing loss so that effective treatment can be given as soon as possible. This can reduce the financial, social, and health repercussions of hearing loss.
At Celestial Hearing, you can receive a comprehensive hearing evaluation from our experienced hearing care professional, Paula Rogers. With Paula’s expertise and advice, you can take the steps you need to preserve your hearing health, so you can live life to the fullest. Call us today at 575-915-1112 to arrange your hearing assessment.