Research estimates 43% of patients over the age of 60 may be missing fundamental health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so critical, patients may be missing vital details about their care.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small matter. Globally, a third of individuals who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
If we take it further, we find that surprisingly only about 30% of those same senior citizens suffering from hearing loss have, or use, solutions that would improve their hearing. In terms of medical care, this is bad news.
The Importance of Communication in Medical Care
A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a primary cause of medical error. A report from Harvard showed that up to 37% of serious injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been prevented with better communication. An improved ability to communicate important information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
When you are talking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some information you won’t want to miss so let’s not linger on statistics.
When it comes to reaching health objectives, the advice of health care professionals is a vital element. They may talk about what healthy 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. Managing your condition could become a problem if you miss essential advice.
You may be in a situation where your doctor notifies you that you need medical care. If you don’t comprehend completely what the physician is saying, you may miss essential warning signs and delay getting help.
Your pharmacist might try to warn you about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You believe you heard everything but you lose an important detail and wind up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building program but warns you against a certain activity. You miss the recommendation and sustain a serious fall as a result.
It’s Especially Difficult to Talk About Medical Information
Discussing medical data is particularly challenging 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 believe that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be entirely altered, when addressing medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, could be
totally altered with one missed number.
In medical care the smallest details make a big difference. Missing 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. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.