Untreated Hearing Loss and Healthcare Costs

Hearing loss is often a barrier to patient-provider communication and that barrier contributes to poor patient-doctor experiences. For many older adults with untreated hearing loss, these communication barriers affect both adherence and engagement to care. That is, older adults with untreated hearing loss are more likely to “give up” on getting the care they need because they have so much trouble hearing what their doctors and nurses are saying.

People over the age of 70 that have hearing loss are:

  • More likely to not have a primary care doctor
  • Less likely to obtain needed medical care
  • Less likely to fill a prescription
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Not only does untreated hearing loss affect a person’s ability to seek healthcare, it also affects healthcare system costs. A recent study from Johns Hopkins University shows that over a ten-year time frame, a person with hearing loss is more than 3 times more expensive to take care of compared to a similarly aged individual.


Fortunately, wearing properly prescribed hearing aids can help. It is important to seek treatment for hearing loss as part of an overall strategy to preserve good health and a good quality of life. This includes:

  • Annual hearing exams by a hearing care professional
    If a hearing loss is present, be fit with hearing aids that are professionally prescribed based on the patient’s hearing loss and needs
  • Encourage those communicating with someone with hearing loss to look at the person with hearing loss and avoid talking with their back faced toward them so that they can read lips and see visual cues
  • We recommend physician’s offices keep personal amplifiers in the office to help as needed with face-to-face interactions