Important health information is missed by around 43% of patients who are 60 or older, according to recent studies. At a time when heeding medical advice is so crucial, patients might be missing major details related to their care.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small matter. Debilitating hearing loss is a problem worldwide for around a third of individuals who are 65 or older.
But surprisingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll show next.
The Value of Communication in Health Care
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. A study from Harvard revealed that up to 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been prevented with improved communication. An improved ability to communicate important information with patients could save lives.
How Hearing Loss Effects Medical Care
Statistics can seem a bit abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some significant info you could miss when speaking with pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
When it comes to reaching health objectives, the advice of health care professionals is a vital factor. Maybe they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can be harmful. You could be missing crucial pieces of advice that would help you handle your condition.
These medical professionals might explain danger zones that suggest that you require medical care. You might not get the help that you need because you didn’t completely understand what your doctor was saying.
There may be crucial details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to make you aware of. You think you heard everything but you miss an important detail and wind up hospitalized.
Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building regimen but warns you against a specific activity. You might suffer a serious fall because you missed that recommendation.
It’s Particularly Difficult to Communicate Medical Data
Discussing medical data is particularly challenging because of a little thing known as context. When you have hearing loss, you utilize context to “fill in the blanks” where you missed something. Your brain is in fact really good at compensating for hearing loss. So good, as a matter of fact, that it might even convince you that you heard something you didn’t truly hear.
With medical information something as seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can completely change the meaning of a sentence. One number misunderstood could completely change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
In medical care the smallest details matter. Misunderstanding them has been shown to lead to medical errors.
Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss
You could be missing crucial medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.