The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss on Health Care Outcomes

Man hospitalized from a fall related to his untreated hearing loss.

Research shows that about 43% of patients over the age of 60 might be missing fundamental health information because of hearing loss. Important information, when it comes to health care, could be missed because of hearing loss.

Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic

Hearing loss is a big issue. Disabling hearing loss is a problem worldwide for around a third of individuals over 65.

If we go further, we find that surprisingly only about 30% of those same seniors suffering from hearing loss have, or use, treatments that would benefit their hearing. In terms of medical care, this isn’t good news.

The Value of Communication in Medical Care

A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. A study from Harvard revealed that up to 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been avoided with better communication. Lives could be saved if important information could be better communicated with patients.

How Medical Care is Impacted by Hearing Loss

When you are speaking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some information you won’t want to miss so let’s not linger on statistics.

When it comes to reaching health goals, the advice of health care professionals is a vital element. Maybe they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to avoid certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can do you harm. Handling your condition could become a problem if you miss important advice.

These medical providers may explain danger zones that suggest that you require medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is communicating, you might miss crucial warning signs and delay getting help.

Your pharmacist could try to warn you 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.

Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building regimen but warns you not to engage in a specific activity. You miss the advice and suffer a serious fall as a result.

It’s Especially Challenging to Talk About Medical Data

Taking medical information in the correct context is particularly challenging. When you have hearing loss, you make use of context to “fill in the blanks” where you missed something. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is in fact rather good at. So good, as a matter of fact, that it could even make you believe that you heard something you didn’t really hear.

The meaning of a sentence can be totally altered, when dealing with medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. One number misunderstood could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.

In medical care the slightest details make a big difference. Misunderstanding them has been shown to lead to medical mistakes.

Getting Help For Hearing Loss

If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you might be missing needed medical advice. Now is the time to take the proper steps to save your hearing.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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