Patients With Untreated Hearing Loss Incur Higher Health Care Costs Over Time

Patients With Untreated Hearing Loss Incur Higher Health Care Costs Over Time

Are you living with untreated hearing loss? Not only does living with untreated hearing loss affect your quality of life, untreated hearing loss also makes it harder for you to communicate with your loved ones, and leave you feeling socially isolated. A new study found that if you don’t treat your hearing loss, you could also be racking up the doctors’ bills.

Untreated Hearing Loss Is Costing You a Lot

If you’ve been struggling to hear, and are hesitant to treat your hearing loss with hearing aids, you might want to reconsider. A new longitudinal study shows that leaving hearing loss can incur unexpected health costs. The study looked at claims data from a 10-year period to identify trends. They discovered that older adults with hearing loss had 46% more health care costs than those who could hear clearly!

Nicholas S. Reed, AuD, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, along with the University of California-San Francisco, set out to discover the costs of untreated hearing loss. They looked at data from the OptumLabs Data Warehouse, a massive health care dataset with information on hundreds of thousands of patients who accessed health care between 1999 and 2016. They found over 77,000 patients with hearing loss and compared these records against those without hearing loss.

When they presented their findings, and the numbers were staggering. Patients with untreated hearing loss experienced 50% more hospital stays, had high rates of hospital readmission, were more likely to visit the emergency department, and had 52 more outpatient visits than those without hearing loss. This meant that those with hearing loss paid around $22,434 more in health care costs per person over a 10-year period! Living with untreated hearing loss is costing you far more than the odd conversation, but it’s affecting your bank account in a big way.

Why Does Hearing Loss Cost More?

As early as two years after a diagnosis of hearing loss, it was obvious that those with hearing loss were visiting their doctor more often, were more likely to be hospitalized, and were spending more money on health care. Living with untreated hearing loss increases your risk of falls and accidents, which could increase your visits to the doctor.

When you’re at the doctor’s office, or in the hospital, hearing loss makes it more difficult to communicate effectively, and this has a big impact on your treatment outcomes. If you’re unable to follow what the doctor is saying, you won’t have the best results. Hospitals and clinics are often extremely noisy, from echoing hallways and beeping machines, and announcements over the PA system. If you have trouble hearing in quiet places, you may find it nearly impossible to understand what the doctor is saying, or communicate your problem clearly.

You may not receive the appropriate diagnosis, and will have to visit the doctor again soon. And if you did receive the right treatment program, but didn’t hear the instructions, you can’t take your pills at the right time, or be affective in treating your symptoms.

Reasons to Treat Your Hearing Loss

Not only does treating your hearing loss save you money, it also has a huge impact on your quality of life and overall health. Those who treat their hearing loss are able to maintain an active social life, avoid depression, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. They also keep their brains more active, reducing the chances of rapid cognitive decline, or dementia.

Hearing Aid Associates

Hearing loss affects close to 40 million Americans, and half of all seniors over the age of 70. As the population ages, this number continues to rise, and far too many people are ignoring their hearing loss and choosing to live with it rather than seeking treatment. At Hearing Aid Associates, we know that treating hearing loss could be the most important thing you do for your overall health and quality of life, allowing you to hear clearly, connect with family and loved ones, enjoy your hobbies, try new things, keep your brain healthy, and avoid higher health care costs.

If you’re ready to do the right thing for your health and wellbeing, visit us today for a hearing test, and start your journey to wellness.