Research shows that about 43% of patients over 60 might be missing fundamental health information as a result of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical guidance is so critical, patients could be missing major details about their care.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small issue. Disabling hearing loss is an issue worldwide for around a third of people over 65.
If we take it further, we see that shockingly only about 30% of those same senior citizens suffering from hearing loss have, or make use of, treatments that would benefit their hearing. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll demonstrate next.
The Importance of Communication in Medical Care
A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. Up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have occurred if communication had been better. An improved ability to communicate important information with patients could save lives.
How Medical Care is Impacted by Hearing Loss
Statistics can seem a little fuzzy and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some essential information you might miss when speaking with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding specific health objectives. Perhaps they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. There are some things that can harm you if they are not managed in a way that your health care professional advises. You might be missing essential pieces of advice that would help you manage your condition.
You may be in a situation where your medical provider notifies you that you need medical care. If you don’t understand fully what the physician is saying, you could miss significant warning signs and put off on getting help.
Your pharmacist could try to warn you about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You could end up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Perhaps you receive a warning against doing some hazardous activity from your physical therapist. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.
Why discussing Medical Information is Especially Demanding
Discussing medical data is especially tough because of a little thing known as context. When you miss some piece of information because of your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually really good at compensating for hearing loss. You might even come to believe that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be entirely altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. One number misunderstood could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the slightest details matter. When those small details are missed, it can result in severe medical problems.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
If you have hearing loss, you may be missing essential medical advice. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to conserve your hearing.