Research estimates 43% of patients over the age of 60 may be missing important health information due to hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so essential, patients may be missing major details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss is a major issue. Globally, a third of individuals who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
If we go further, we discover that shockingly only around 30% of those same seniors who suffer with hearing loss have, or make use of, solutions that would benefit their hearing. This trend isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll illustrate next.
With Medical Care – Communication is Crucial
Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. Up to 37% of serious injuries that were a result of medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have happened if communication had been better. Lives could be saved if important information could be better communicated with patients.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
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.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding certain health goals. Perhaps they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They might tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can do you harm. Controlling your condition could get away from you if you miss crucial advice.
You may be in a situation where your physician notifies you that you need medical attention. If you don’t understand fully what the doctor is communicating, you may miss significant warning signs and put off on getting help.
Your pharmacist could try to warn you about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You believe you heard everything but you miss an important detail and wind up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building routine but warns you against a particular activity. You could suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Especially Difficult to Talk About Medical Data
Taking medical information in the proper context is especially difficult. When you miss some piece of information as a result of your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually very good at compensating for hearing loss. You might even come to believe that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
With medical data something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can totally alter the meaning of a sentence. One misunderstood number could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the smallest details make a big difference. Misunderstanding them has been shown to result in medical mistakes.
Getting Help For Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, you could be missing needed medical advice. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.