The Hidden Healthcare Cost Behind Untreated Hearing Loss

Untreated hearing loss can negatively impact your life by leading to depression, cognitive decline, deteriorated relationships with family and friends, and most recently a study found higher costs associated with your medical bills.

According to a new study conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina, those with untreated hearing loss had significantly higher medical bills than those without hearing loss. But how much higher?

The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery compared 562,000 privately insured individuals between the ages of 55 and 64, both with and without hearing loss. The individuals had similar employment, health conditions and low-deductible health insurance. The study compared their inpatient and outpatient costs and prescriptions over an 18-month period.

The results found that those with hearing loss had significantly higher medical bills than those without hearing loss. Specifically, over an 18-month period those without hearing loss spent $10,629 and those with hearing loss spent $14,165.

While it may appear that the difference results in treating the hearing loss alone, that was not the case. The costs were higher for those with treated hearing loss than for those who did not suffer from a loss at all, but the individuals with untreated hearing loss spent the most, even more than those who had a loss and had purchased hearing instruments.

Hearing loss puts patients at a disadvantage when it comes to medical care. One conclusion is that these individuals avoid seeking medical assistance due to the stress of trying to communicate with the medical provider. This stress may delay them seeking the correct medical attention which in turn can lead to them needing more expensive care in the future.

Eventually, untreated hearing loss can lead to physical and emotional distress along with financial consequences if left untouched. The rate of hearing loss triples between the ages of 50 and 60. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is suffering from hearing loss, schedule a hearing examination at one of our 200 locations today. You could not only lower your healthcare costs long term, but also live a healthier and happier life in the process.

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