Research shows that about 43% of patients over the age of 60 might be missing important health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical guidance is so crucial, patients may be missing important details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small situation. Worldwide, a third of individuals over the age of 65 have disabling hearing loss.
But shockingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who have debilitating hearing loss have taken measures to improve their situation. When it comes to medical care, this is bad news.
With Health Care – Communication is Essential
Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. Up to 37% of serious injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have happened 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
When you are talking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some info you won’t want to miss so let’s not linger on statistics.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding particular health goals. Perhaps they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They might 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 situation.
These medical providers might explain danger zones that reveal that you require medical care. You might not get the help that you require because you didn’t completely understand what your doctor was saying.
Your pharmacist might try to give you a warning about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You could end up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building program but warns you against a particular activity. You might suffer a severe fall because you missed that advice.
Why Communicating Medical Details is Especially Challenging
Putting medical information in the correct context is especially difficult. When you miss something because of your hearing loss, you use context to try to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is actually rather good at. So good, as a matter of fact, that it might even make you believe that you heard something you didn’t truly hear.
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
completely altered with one missed number.
The smallest detail matters when it comes to medical care. 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. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to save your hearing.