Significant health information is missed by around 43% of patients who are 60 or older, as reported by recent studies. Important information, with regards to health care, might be missed because of hearing loss.
There is a Worldwide Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss is a big problem. Worldwide, one third of people over the age of 65 have debilitating hearing loss.
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 better their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll demonstrate next.
The Significance of Communication in Medical Care
Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. As many as 37% of severe injuries that were a result of medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have occurred if communication had been stronger. Lives could be saved if important information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
Statistics can seem a bit fuzzy and intangible so let’s look at important info you could miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding particular health goals. Maybe they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. There are particular things that can be harmful if they are not controlled in a way that your health care professional suggests. Managing your condition could become a problem if you miss essential advice.
You might be in a situation where your physician informs you that you need medical attention. You might not get the help that you need because you didn’t fully understand what your doctor was explaining.
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 end up in the hospital.
Perhaps you get 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 Talk About Medical Data
Discussing medical data is especially challenging because of a little thing called context. When you miss something because of your hearing loss, you make use of context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is actually rather good at. You may even come to think that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
With medical data something as seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can completely change the meaning of a sentence. One number misunderstood could totally change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The slightest detail matters when it comes to medical care. When those small details are missed, it can lead to serious medical problems.
Getting Help For Hearing Loss
You could be missing important medical advice if you suffer from hearing loss. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.