How can we estimate the societal cost of severe to profound hearing loss?

This article discusses a post or paper titled "Costs of Severe to Profound Hearing Loss & Cost Savings of Cochlear Implants" published by Ivette Cejas PhD, David H. Barker PhD, Esteban Petruzzello PhD, Christina M. Sarangoulis BA, and Alexandra L. Quittner PhD on the The Laryngoscope website on May 14, 2024.

What is the article about?

Severe to profound hearing loss SPHL is a costly condition, with the primary driver being lost productivity. Medical costs were higher for cochlear implantation, however, the higher income earnings offset the higher medical costs. Overall, early implantation substantially reduced lifetime costs. Access to hearing health care and technology is critical given the documented benefits for language, education, and quality of life. Government and insurance policies should be modified to allow for equal access and coverage for hearing technology, which will ultimately reduce lifetime and societal costs.

Why is this information important for you?

Important for patients, caregivers, and policymakers as it highlights the significant cost implications of severe to profound hearing loss (SPHL) and the potential cost-savings associated with early cochlear implantation (CI). Understanding these financial impacts can inform decisions regarding early intervention and the allocation of resources, ultimately improving access to hearing healthcare and enhancing quality of life for individuals with hearing loss.

What are the main take-aways?

  • High Lifetime Costs of SPHL: The lifetime cost for an individual born with SPHL is estimated at $489,274. The costs are lower for those who receive a cochlear implant before 18 months of age ($390,931) compared to those who do not receive an implant ($608,167).
  • Benefits of Early Cochlear Implantation: Early cochlear implantation significantly reduces lifetime costs by improving educational outcomes and increasing earning potential. Despite higher initial medical costs, early implantation leads to overall cost-savings by reducing special education expenses and lost productivity.
  • Societal Cost Impact: The annual societal costs for SPHL in the US population are estimated at $37 billion. These high costs underscore the importance of improving access to hearing healthcare and technologies like cochlear implants, which can lead to substantial societal and economic benefits.
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