Important health information is missed by an estimated 43% of patients who are 60 or older, as reported by recent research. Important details, when it comes to health care, could be missed due to hearing loss.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss is a major problem. Disabling hearing loss is a problem globally for around a third of individuals who are 65 or older.
But shockingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who suffer from debilitating hearing loss have taken measures to improve their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll show next.
The Significance of Communication in Medical Care
Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. Up to 37% of serious injuries that were a result of medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have happened if communication had been stronger. An enhanced ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
When you are talking to pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some information you won’t want to miss so let’s not linger on statistics.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding specific health goals. Maybe they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. Managing your condition could get away from you if you miss essential advice.
You might be in a situation where your doctor informs you that you require medical care. You may not get the assistance that you require because you didn’t completely understand what your doctor was saying.
Your pharmacist might try to warn you about dangerous side effects or drug interactions. You believe you heard everything but you lose an important detail and end up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building program but warns you against a particular activity. You might suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Especially Challenging to Communicate Medical Data
Putting medical data in the proper context is particularly challenging. When you miss some piece of information because of your hearing loss, you make use of context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually really good at compensating for hearing loss. You may even come to believe 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 totally change the meaning of a sentence. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
entirely altered with one missed number.
The slightest detail makes a big difference when it comes to medical care. When those small details are missed, it can produce severe medical issues.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
You could be missing important medical advice if you suffer from hearing loss. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to conserve your hearing.