The Effects of Neglected 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 important health information as a result of hearing loss. At a time when following medical advice is so essential, patients may be missing important details about their care.

Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic

Hearing loss is a big problem. Globally, one third of people who are 65 or older have debilitating hearing loss.

If we go further, we find that shockingly only about 30% of those same senior citizens suffering from hearing loss have, or make use of, solutions that would benefit their hearing. In terms of medical care, this is bad news.

The Significance of Communication in Health Care

Miscommunication is one of the primary causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. 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 essential information could be better communicated with patients.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care

Statistics can seem a little fuzzy and intangible so let’s consider some important information you might miss when talking to doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.

When it comes to reaching health goals, the advice of health care professionals is a key element. Perhaps they’re explaining healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. There are some things that can be harmful if they are not handled in a way that your health care professional recommends. Dealing with your condition could get away from you if you miss important advice.

You may be in a situation where your medical provider notifies you that you need medical care. You may not get the help that you need because you didn’t completely comprehend what your doctor was explaining.

Your pharmacist may 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.

Perhaps you receive a warning about some dangerous activity from your physical therapist. You could suffer a severe fall because you missed that advice.

Why Communicating Medical Details is Particularly Challenging

Communicating medical data is particularly difficult because of a little thing known as context. When you miss something because of your hearing loss, you use context to attempt to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something your brain is in fact pretty good at. You might even come to believe that you heard something that you really didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.

With medical information something as seemingly insignificant as a “don’t” or “not” can totally change the meaning of a sentence. One number misunderstood could completely change a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.

In medical care the slightest details matter. Missing them has been shown to result in medical mistakes.

Getting Assistance For Hearing Loss

You could be missing important medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to deal with that and get your hearing back.

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.