Research estimates 43% of patients over the age of 60 might be missing fundamental health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so crucial, patients could be missing vital details related to their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss is a big problem. Worldwide, a third of people who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
But surprisingly, if we look a little closer we discover that only 30% of those people who suffer from 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 Importance of Communication in Medical Care
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. A report from Harvard demonstrated that as many as 37% of serious injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been avoided with improved communication. Lives could be saved if crucial information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
When you are speaking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some information you won’t want to miss so let’s not dwell on statistics.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding certain health goals. They may talk about what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They may tell you to abstain from certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can do you harm. Dealing with your condition could become a problem if you miss essential advice.
You may be in a situation where your physician notifies you that you need medical care. If you don’t understand fully what the physician is communicating, you may miss crucial warning signs and delay getting help.
There might be crucial details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to make you aware of. You could end up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Maybe you get a warning about some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You might suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
Why discussing Medical Details is Especially Demanding
Taking medical data in the proper context is especially difficult. When you miss something because of your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually very good at compensating for hearing loss. You may even come to think that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
With medical information something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can completely alter the meaning of a sentence. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, could be
entirely changed with one missed number.
In medical care the smallest details make a big difference. When those little details are missed, it can produce severe medical issues.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you may be missing important medical advice. Now is the time to take the correct steps to save your hearing.