Research shows that about 43% of patients over 60 might be missing crucial health information as a result of hearing loss. Significant information, when it comes to health care, could be missed due to hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Globally, one third of people who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
But surprisingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. This trend isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll show next.
With Health Care – Communication is Key
A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. Up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have happened if communication had been better. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can seem a little abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some essential information you could miss when speaking with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding particular health goals. They may talk about what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They may tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can do you harm. You could be missing crucial pieces of advice that would help you manage your situation.
You might be in a situation where your doctor informs you that you need medical attention. If you don’t understand fully what the doctor is saying, you might miss important warning signs and put off on getting assistance.
There might be crucial details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is trying to warn you about. You could wind up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard everything but you didn’t.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building program but warns you not to engage in a certain activity. You could suffer a serious fall because you missed that advice.
Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Demanding
Taking medical data in the correct context is especially difficult. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you use context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact very 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 changed, when dealing with medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could totally alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The smallest detail makes a big difference when it comes to medical care. Misunderstanding them has been shown to result in medical mistakes.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
You could be missing vital medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.