Research shows that about 43% of patients over the age of 60 may be missing important health information due to hearing loss. Significant details, with regards to health care, might be missed because of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Disabling hearing loss is an issue globally for about a third of individuals who are 65 or older.
If we go further, we discover that surprisingly only about 30% of those same seniors who suffer with hearing loss have, or make use of, treatments that would improve their hearing. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll demonstrate next.
The Importance of Communication in Medical Care
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. As many as 37% of serious injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have happened if communication had been stronger. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
Statistics can be a bit abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s look at essential information you might miss when speaking with pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding particular health goals. Perhaps they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They might tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can be harmful. Handling your condition could become a problem if you miss crucial advice.
You may be in a situation where your doctor lets you know that you require medical attention. You might not get the help that you need because you didn’t fully understand what your doctor was saying.
There may be crucial details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is trying to make you aware of. You could end up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard everything but you didn’t.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building routine but warns you against a particular activity. You might suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Especially Challenging to Talk About Medical Information
Discussing medical information is particularly challenging because of a little thing called context. When you miss something due to your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact very good at compensating for hearing loss. So good, actually, that it might even convince you that you heard something you didn’t really hear.
With medical information something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can totally alter the meaning of a sentence. One misunderstood number could totally alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The smallest detail matters when it comes to medical care. When those little details are missed, it can result in severe medical issues.
Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss
You could be missing important medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.