Important health information is missed by around 43% of patients who are 60 or older, as reported by recent studies. Major information, when it comes to health care, might be missed due to hearing loss.
There is a Worldwide Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small situation. Globally, a third of people who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
But astoundingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people with debilitating hearing loss have taken measures to improve their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll illustrate next.
With Medical Care – Communication is Essential
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. As many as 37% of severe injuries that were a result of medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have occurred if communication had been stronger. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Medical Care is Impacted by Hearing Loss
Statistics can seem a little fuzzy and intangible so let’s look at essential information you might miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding certain health goals. They may talk about what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They may tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. You may be missing crucial pieces of advice that would help you handle your condition.
You may be in a situation where your medical provider informs you that you need medical care. You may not get the help that you require because you didn’t fully comprehend what your doctor was saying.
There may be essential details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is trying to warn you about. You believe you heard everything but you lose an important detail and wind up in the hospital.
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 Information
Communicating medical information is especially tough because of a little thing called context. When you miss some piece of information due to your hearing loss, you use context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact really 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 seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. One misunderstood number could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the smallest details matter. Misunderstanding them has been shown to lead to medical mistakes.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
You could be missing important medical advice if you have hearing loss. Now is the time to take the proper steps to save your hearing.