Research shows that about 43% of patients over 60 may be missing important health information due to hearing loss. Significant information, with regards to health care, could be missed due to hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small situation. Worldwide, one third of people who are 65 or older have debilitating hearing loss.
If we go further, we find that surprisingly only about 30% of those same senior citizens who suffer with hearing loss have, or use, solutions that would improve their hearing. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll illustrate next.
The Value of Communication in Health Care
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. A study from Harvard revealed that as many as 37% of serious injuries that were caused by medical errors could have been prevented with better communication. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.
How Medical Care is Impacted by Hearing Loss
Statistics can be a bit abstract and intangible so let’s look at important information you could miss when speaking with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding certain health goals. Perhaps they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. You might be missing crucial pieces of advice that would help you manage your situation.
These medical providers might explain danger zones that indicate that you need medical care. You might not get the assistance that you require because you didn’t completely comprehend what your doctor was saying.
Your pharmacist may try to give you a warning about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You could end up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard everything but you didn’t.
Maybe you receive a warning about some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You miss the advice and sustain a serious fall as a result.
It’s Particularly Challenging to Talk About Medical Data
Taking medical information in the correct context is particularly difficult. When you miss some piece of information due to your hearing loss, you use context to try to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something that your brain is actually pretty good at. So good, in fact, that it could even convince you that you heard something you didn’t truly hear.
The meaning of a sentence can be completely altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could totally alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the slightest details make a big difference. When those small details are missed, it can result in serious medical problems.
Getting Help For Hearing Loss
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you might be missing essential medical advice. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.