Essential health information is missed by an estimated 43% of patients who are 60 or older, based on recent studies. At a time when heeding medical guidance is so critical, patients may be missing important details about their care.
There is a Global Hearing Epidemic
Hearing loss is a big problem. Worldwide, one third of people who are 65 or older have disabling hearing loss.
If we go further, we find that surprisingly only around 30% of those same seniors suffering from hearing loss have, or use, solutions that would improve their hearing. This trend isn’t good news for healthcare as we’ll illustrate next.
The Importance of Communication in Medical Care
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a primary cause of medical error. As many as 37% of severe injuries that were a result of medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have happened if communication had been better. Lives could be saved if crucial information could be better communicated with patients.
How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care
Statistics can be a bit fuzzy and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some significant info you might 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 key element. Maybe they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can do you harm. Dealing with your condition could get away from you if you miss crucial advice.
These medical providers may explain danger zones that suggest that you need medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is communicating, you might miss significant warning signs and put off on getting help.
There may be important details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is trying to warn you about. You could wind up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building routine but warns you against a certain activity. You miss the recommendation and suffer a serious fall as a result.
It’s Particularly Difficult to Talk About Medical Information
Communicating medical information is particularly tough because of a little thing known as context. When you miss some piece of information due to your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually really good at compensating for hearing loss. So good, actually, that it could even make you believe that you heard something you didn’t actually hear.
With medical data something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can totally change the meaning of a sentence. One misunderstood number could completely change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.
The slightest detail makes a big difference when it comes to medical care. Misunderstanding them has been shown to lead to medical mistakes.
Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you may be missing vital medical advice. It’s time to do something about that and get your hearing back.