Research shows that about 43% of patients over 60 might be missing crucial health information due to hearing loss. At a time when following medical guidance is so important, patients could be missing vital details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss is a big issue. Globally, one third of people who are 65 or older have debilitating hearing loss.
But surprisingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people with debilitating hearing loss have taken steps to improve their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll show next.
With Health Care – Communication is Essential
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. Up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have happened if communication had been better. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can seem a bit fuzzy and intangible so let’s consider some significant info you could miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
When it comes to reaching health goals, the advice of health care professionals is a crucial element. They may talk about what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They might tell you to abstain from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. You could be missing essential pieces of advice that would help you manage your condition.
You may be in a situation where your doctor notifies you that you need medical attention. If you don’t understand fully what the physician is saying, you may miss crucial warning signs and put off on getting help.
There may be essential details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to make you aware of. You believe you heard everything but you miss an important detail and end up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building routine but warns you not to engage in a certain activity. You miss the recommendation and sustain a serious fall as a result.
Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Demanding
Communicating medical information is especially difficult because of a little thing known as context. When you have hearing loss, you utilize context to “fill in the blanks” where you missed something. Your brain is in fact very good at compensating for hearing loss. You might even come to think that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be totally changed, when addressing medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
completely changed with one missed number.
In medical care the slightest details make a big difference. Missing them has been shown to result in medical mistakes.
Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss
You could be missing important medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.