Significant health information is missed by an estimated 43% of patients who are 60 or older, based on recent research. At a time when heeding medical advice is so crucial, patients could be missing major details related to their care.
Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic
Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Disabling hearing loss is an issue globally for about a third of people over 65.
But astoundingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who suffer from debilitating hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. When it comes to medical care, this is bad news.
The Value of Communication in Medical Care
One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a primary cause of medical error. A study from Harvard showed that up to 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been prevented with better communication. Lives could be saved if important information could be better communicated with patients.
How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss
Statistics can seem a little fuzzy and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some essential info you could miss when talking to pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.
Doctors and nurses work with you regarding particular health goals. Perhaps they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They might tell you to abstain from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can do you harm. You might be missing essential pieces of advice that would help you manage your condition.
You might be in a situation where your physician lets you know that you need medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is saying, you might miss crucial warning signs and put off on getting assistance.
Your pharmacist could try to give you a warning about dangerous side effects or drug interactions. You could wind up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.
Perhaps you receive a warning against doing some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.
Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Challenging
Communicating medical data is particularly difficult because of a little thing called context. When you suffer from hearing loss, you use context to “fill in the blanks” where you missed something. Your brain is in fact very good at compensating for hearing loss. You might even come to think that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.
With medical data something as seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can entirely 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 make a big difference. When those little details are missed, it can produce severe medical problems.
Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you might be missing vital medical advice. Now is the time to take the proper steps to save your hearing.