hearing loss podcast aarp nejm

New Podcast Addresses Silent Epidemic of Hearing Loss

If you’re looking to bone up on your knowledge of the consequences of untreated hearing loss in adults, look no further than a recent New England Journal of Medicine podcast featuring Charlotte Yeh, MD, Chief Medical Officer of AARP.

Hosted by Chief Medical Officer of Press Ganey Associates, Thomas Lee, MD, the 12-minute interview highlights several studies indicating that over a ten-year period, older adults with untreated hearing loss are at an increased risk for several conditions:

  • 52% increased risk of dementia
  • 41% increased risk of depression
  • 21% increased risk of falls

Additionally, the podcast and its accompanying transcript provide links to studies, published in refereed journals, that substantiated Yeh’s claims that costs and utilization of the healthcare system are greater for those with untreated hearing loss, such as:

  • 46% higher overall healthcare costs
  • $22,000 per person higher costs
  • 47% higher risk of hospitalization
  • 2 ½ days longer stays in the hospital
  • 44% more re-admissions

Yueh and Lee also cite a recent AARP-sponsored study indicating that 25% of millennials and Gen Xers have hearing loss, a likely result of portable headphone use.  

The podcast is an excellent summary of recent research on the serious and far-reaching implications of untreated hearing loss that, the presenters suggest, could eventually lead to Medicare reimbursement for hearing aids. The data outlined in the podcast could also be used by marketing managers build an evidence-based platform for ethical messaging and outreach about the vital role of early hearing intervention.

1 Comment

  1. What the public needs to know is:
    Sensorineural hearing loss due to exposure to noise (Music in headphones included), is noticeable about 15 years after the beginning of the damage process.
    Every hearing loss will eventually have cognitive consequences. The timing will depend upon the etiology, and gene mutations.
    The public needs increased knowledge on the cognitive effects so that they can be better educated on hearing protection.for the years to come….

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