Research shows that about 43% of patients over the age of 60 might be missing fundamental health information as a result of hearing loss. At a time when following medical guidance is so essential, patients may be missing vital details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Worldwide, one third of people over the age of 65 have debilitating hearing loss.
But shockingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll show next.
The Value of Communication in Medical Care
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. A study from Harvard demonstrated that up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors could have been avoided with better communication. An enhanced ability to communicate essential information with patients could save lives.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
Statistics can seem a little fuzzy and intangible so let’s look at essential information you could miss when talking to pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding particular health objectives. They may explain what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They might tell you to abstain from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. Handling your condition could become a problem if you miss crucial advice.
These medical professionals might explain danger zones that indicate that you require medical care. If you don’t understand fully what the doctor is communicating, you might miss essential warning signs and delay getting assistance.
There might be important details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to warn you about. You think you heard everything but you lose a critical detail and wind up in the hospital.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building program but warns you against a certain activity. You could suffer a severe fall because you missed that recommendation.
Why discussing Medical Information is Particularly Challenging
Communicating medical data is particularly tough because of a little thing known as context. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you make use of context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually really good at compensating for hearing loss. You may even come to think that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be totally altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could completely change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The slightest detail matters when it comes to medical care. Missing them has been shown to lead to medical errors.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
If you have hearing loss, you might be missing needed medical advice. Now is the time to take the correct steps to save your hearing.