Research estimates 43% of patients over 60 may be missing fundamental health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so important, patients could be missing important details related to their care.
There is a Worldwide Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small issue. Disabling hearing loss is a problem worldwide for about a third of individuals who are 65 or older.
If we go further, we see that shockingly only around 30% of those same seniors suffering from hearing loss have, or use, solutions that would benefit their hearing. When it comes to medical care, this isn’t good news.
The Significance of Communication in Medical Care
A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. A report from Harvard demonstrated that up to 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors could have been prevented with improved communication. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
Statistics can seem a bit abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some important info you could miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding particular health goals. They may talk about what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are particular things that can harm you if they are not controlled in a way that your health care professional suggests. Handling your condition could become a problem if you miss crucial advice.
You might be in a situation where your doctor lets you know that you require medical attention. If you don’t understand fully what the doctor is saying, you might miss significant warning signs and put off on getting help.
Your pharmacist could try to give you a warning about dangerous side effects or drug interactions. You believe you heard everything but you miss an important detail and wind up hospitalized.
Maybe you receive a warning against doing some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.
Why Communicating Medical Details is Especially Demanding
Discussing medical information is especially challenging because of a little thing called context. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you use context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact really good at compensating for hearing loss. You might even come to think that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
With medical information something as seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
completely changed with one missed number.
The smallest detail matters when it comes to medical care. Missing them has been shown to lead to medical errors.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
You could be missing vital medical advice if you suffer from hearing loss. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.