Important health information is missed by around 43% of patients who are 60 or older, according to recent research. Significant information, with regards to health care, could be missed because of hearing loss.
There is a Worldwide Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss is a major problem. Globally, a third of individuals who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
But surprisingly, if we look a little closer we discover that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to improve their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll illustrate next.
The Value of Communication in Health Care
Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. A study from Harvard showed that as many as 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been avoided with better communication. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
Statistics can be a little abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s look at essential information you could miss when speaking with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses advise you regarding particular health goals. They might talk about what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are certain things that can harm you if they are not controlled in a way that your health care professional suggests. Handling your condition could get away from you if you miss essential advice.
These medical professionals may explain danger zones that reveal that you need medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is communicating, you may miss crucial warning signs and delay getting help.
There may be essential details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to make you aware of. You believe you heard everything but you lose a critical detail and end up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building routine but warns you not to engage in a particular activity. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.
Why discussing Medical Details is Especially Demanding
Communicating medical data is especially difficult because of a little thing called context. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you use context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Your brain is in fact really 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.
The meaning of a sentence can be completely changed, when addressing medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. One misunderstood number could totally alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the smallest details matter. Missing them has been shown to lead to medical errors.
Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss
If you have hearing loss, you could be missing essential medical advice. Now is the time to take the correct steps to conserve your hearing.