Research estimates 43% of patients over 60 might be missing important health information as a result of hearing loss. At a time when following medical advice is so crucial, patients might be missing vital details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic
Hearing loss is a major problem. Worldwide, a third of individuals who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
But surprisingly, if we go a little deeper we find 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 healthcare as we’ll show next.
With Health Care – Communication is Key
Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. 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 better. Lives could be saved if crucial information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can be a bit abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some important information you could miss when speaking with pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding specific health objectives. Maybe they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can do you harm. You might be missing important pieces of advice that would help you manage your condition.
You may be in a situation where your medical provider notifies you that you require medical care. If you don’t comprehend completely what the physician is saying, you might miss crucial warning signs and delay getting assistance.
Your pharmacist might try to warn you about dangerous 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 get a warning against doing some hazardous activity from your physical therapist. You miss the recommendation and suffer a serious fall as a result.
Why Communicating Medical Information is Especially Demanding
Communicating medical data is especially challenging because of a little thing known as context. When you miss something because of your hearing loss, you make use of context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something that your brain is actually pretty good at. You might even come to think that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be completely altered, when addressing medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, could be
totally changed with one missed number.
In medical care the smallest details matter. Misunderstanding them has been shown to result in medical errors.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
If you have hearing loss, you might be missing important medical advice. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to conserve your hearing.