Research estimates 43% of patients over 60 may be missing crucial health information because of hearing loss. At a time when following medical advice is so critical, patients might be missing major details about their care.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss is a big issue. Disabling hearing loss is an issue globally for around a third of individuals over 65.
But surprisingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who suffer from debilitating hearing loss have taken steps to improve their situation. In terms of medical care, this is bad news.
With Medical Care – Communication is Crucial
A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. A report from Harvard revealed that as many as 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors could have been prevented with better communication. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can seem a little abstract and intangible so let’s look at essential info you could miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding specific health goals. They may explain what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are some things that can harm you if they are not controlled in a way that your health care professional advises. You may be missing important pieces of advice that would help you manage your situation.
These medical professionals might explain danger zones that indicate that you require medical care. If you don’t understand fully what the physician is saying, you might miss essential warning signs and put off on getting assistance.
Your pharmacist could try to warn you about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You believe you heard everything but you lose a critical detail and wind up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building regimen but warns you not to engage in a specific activity. You might suffer a severe fall because you missed that advice.
Why Communicating Medical Details is Especially Challenging
Communicating medical data is particularly challenging because of a little thing known as context. When you have hearing loss, you use context to “fill in the blanks” where you missed something. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is actually pretty good at. So good, in fact, that it could even convince you that you heard something you didn’t actually hear.
With medical data something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. One number misunderstood could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The slightest detail matters when it comes to medical care. When those little details are missed, it can result in serious medical issues.
Having Your Hearing Loss Treated
If you have hearing loss, you could be missing essential medical advice. Now is the time to take the correct steps to save your hearing.