Significant health information is missed by around 43% of patients who are 60 or older, according to recent research. Significant details, when it comes to health care, could be missed because of hearing loss.
Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic
Hearing loss is a major issue. Worldwide, one third of people who are 65 or older have debilitating hearing loss.
If we take it further, we find that shockingly only about 30% of those same senior citizens suffering from hearing loss have, or use, treatments that would benefit their hearing. When it comes to medical care, this is bad news.
The Importance of Communication in Medical Care
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. As many as 37% of serious injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have occurred if communication had been stronger. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
When you are talking to pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some information you won’t want to miss so let’s not dwell on statistics.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding specific health goals. They might talk about what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. They might tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can be harmful. You may be missing crucial pieces of advice that would help you manage your condition.
These medical professionals might explain danger zones that reveal that you require medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is communicating, you could miss important warning signs and delay getting assistance.
Your pharmacist might try to warn you about harmful side effects or drug interactions. You think you heard everything but you miss a critical detail and wind up in the hospital.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building program but warns you against a particular activity. You could suffer a severe fall because you missed that advice.
Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Demanding
Communicating medical information is particularly tough because of a little thing called 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 in fact rather good at. You might even come to think that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
The meaning of a sentence can be totally altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as basic as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the slightest details make a big difference. When those little details are missed, it can result in severe medical problems.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
You could be missing important medical advice if you suffer from hearing loss. Now is the time to take the correct steps to conserve your hearing.