The cost: approximately $4,000, or a 33 percent higher health care payment over a year-and-a-half.
The health care costs of 561,764 adults, aged 55 to 64, were analysed to determine the price difference. Researchers found that individuals with a hearing loss diagnosis were paying on average $14,165, while those without had an average bill of $10,629.
“This finding indicates that negative health-related effects of hearing loss, a condition that many consider simply an unavoidable result of aging, may manifest earlier than is generally recognized and may affect use of health care across the continuum of care,” according to the authors.
“Studies are needed to identify the underlying factors that lead to the observed cost differences, as well as to ascertain the extent to which early and successful use of hearing aids and other hearing loss interventions modify cost differences. Nevertheless, our study suggests that hearing loss is costly, even in middle-aged individuals, and is present in large numbers of adults for whom early, successful intervention may prevent future hearing-related disabilities and decreased quality of life.”
The results were published by the JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, by Annie N. Simpson, Ph.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, and colleagues.