Significant health information is missed by about 43% of patients who are 60 or older, according to recent research. At a time when following medical guidance is so essential, patients could be missing major details about their care.
Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small situation. Debilitating hearing loss is a problem globally for about a third of people who are 65 or older.
But astoundingly, if we go a little deeper we discover that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to improve their situation. This trend isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll illustrate next.
With Health Care – Communication is Essential
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. Up to 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. An enhanced ability to communicate important information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
When you are talking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some info you won’t want to miss so let’s not linger on statistics.
When it comes to reaching health goals, the advice of health care professionals is a vital element. 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 managed in a way that your health care professional suggests. You might be missing important pieces of advice that would help you manage your situation.
You might be in a situation where your medical provider lets you know that you need medical care. If you don’t understand fully what the doctor is communicating, you might miss crucial warning signs and delay getting assistance.
There might be important details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to warn you about. You think you heard everything but you lose a critical detail and wind up hospitalized.
Perhaps you get a warning about some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You could suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Particularly Challenging to Communicate Medical Information
Putting medical information in the proper context is especially challenging. When you miss some piece of information as a result of your hearing loss, you use context to attempt 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 really hear.
The meaning of a sentence can be entirely altered, when addressing medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could totally change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The smallest detail matters when it comes to medical care. Missing them has been shown to result in medical errors.
Getting Help For Hearing Loss
You could be missing important medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.