Untreated hearing loss is costing older Americans upwards of $20,000 in extra medical bills over a 10-year period, according to the latest research from Johns Hopkins Medical School.
In a study of over 4700 older men and women with an untreated hearing loss, the team of researchers discovered that not only did they have to spend more on health care than those without a hearing loss, but they were also more likely to need to stay in the hospital and return to the hospital within a month of being discharged.
These results highlight how the cost of untreated hearing loss is not just financial. It affects an individual’s overall health and wellbeing.
More at stake than just your hearing
Many adults may accept some loss of hearing as simply a part of growing older. However, untreated hearing loss has widespread effects socially, professionally, physically, and emotionally. The longer it is left untreated and the worse it gets, the more restrictive these effects become.
Hearing loss can result in isolation, frustration, and depression as it prevents an individual from following conversations and engaging with the community of people around them – from friends and family, to work colleagues and acquaintances.
Research from the UK has shown this has an impact on even the most intimate relationship, namely that with a significant other or spouse, putting it under greater strain and affecting the quality of life of both individuals.
Perhaps most striking of all is the impact hearing loss has on the brain. The brain is responsible for processing the range of sounds detected by the ears. When those sounds are limited due to hearing loss, the brain weakens. This means even when hearing loss is finally treated, the brain will struggle to process sounds as it is now out of practice.
More research from the UK has even shown that hearing loss in older adults is associated with cognitive decline and dementia.
A global appeal to take action
The many and varied consequences of hearing loss are avoidable. In an effort to spread this message, the theme set by the World Health Organization for World Hearing Day this March is, “Check your hearing!”
The earlier a hearing loss is identified, the sooner effective treatment can begin such as getting fitted with hearing aids and taking steps to reduce noise-induced hearing damage. This can help individuals preserve their hearing in the long-term and, more importantly, improve their ability to hear right now.
Get professional hearing care today
Cornerstone Audiology provides excellence in hearing care across West Texas. If you are concerned about your hearing health, have spotted signs that you may have a hearing loss, or simply want to get checked out for peace of mind, then all you need to do is visit their website to book your hearing assessment. Hearing aids and other hearing care treatments are all available with the help of one of our skilled Audiologists.