Important health information is missed by about 43% of patients who are 60 or older, according to recent studies. Important details, regarding health care, could be missed due to hearing loss.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Worldwide, a third of individuals over the age of 65 have disabling hearing loss.
If we go further, we see that surprisingly only around 30% of those same seniors suffering from hearing loss have, or use, treatments that would improve their hearing. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll illustrate next.
With Health Care – Communication is Crucial
Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. A study from Harvard demonstrated that up to 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been avoided with better communication. Lives could be saved if crucial information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can be a bit abstract and intangible so let’s consider some significant info you might miss when speaking with pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding certain health goals. They may explain what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are certain things that can harm you if they are not controlled in a way that your health care professional advises. Handling your condition could become a problem if you miss important advice.
You may be in a situation where your doctor notifies you that you need medical care. If you don’t comprehend fully what the physician is saying, you might miss significant warning signs and delay getting help.
Your pharmacist could 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.
Perhaps you receive a warning against doing some hazardous activity from your physical therapist. You could suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Particularly Difficult to Communicate Medical Data
Communicating medical data is particularly difficult because of a little thing known as context. When you miss something due to your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is actually pretty good at. So good, actually, that it might even make you believe that you heard something you didn’t truly hear.
The meaning of a sentence can be completely changed, when dealing with medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
totally changed with one missed number.
The smallest detail makes a big difference when it comes to medical care. Misunderstanding them has been shown to lead to medical mistakes.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
If you have hearing loss, you may be missing vital medical advice. Now is the time to take the proper steps to conserve your hearing.