The Effects of Neglected Hearing Loss on Health Care Outcomes

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

Research estimates 43% of patients over the age of 60 may be missing crucial health information because of hearing loss. At a time when heeding medical advice is so crucial, patients could be missing important details about their care.

Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic

Hearing loss isn’t a small situation. Worldwide, a third of people over the age of 65 have disabling hearing loss.

But shockingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who suffer from disabling hearing loss have taken measures to better their situation. When it comes to medical care, this is bad news.

The Significance of Communication in Medical Care

A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a major cause of medical error. As many as 37% of severe injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, would not have happened if communication had been stronger. Lives could be saved if essential information could be better communicated with patients.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care

When you are speaking with pharmacists, nurses, or doctors there is some info 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 factor. Maybe they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They might tell you to stay away from certain foods to prevent spikes in these levels that can do you harm. Controlling your condition could become a problem if you miss important advice.

You might be in a situation where your medical provider lets you know that you need medical attention. You may not get the help that you need because you didn’t completely comprehend what your doctor was saying.

There might be essential details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is trying to make you aware of. You could wind up in the hospital or worse because you thought you heard all the information but you didn’t.

Maybe you get a warning about some hazardous activity from your physical therapist. You could suffer a severe fall because you missed that recommendation.

Why discussing Medical Details is Particularly Challenging

Taking medical data in the correct context is particularly challenging. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Your brain is actually very good at compensating for hearing loss. So good, in fact, that it might even convince you that you heard something you didn’t really hear.

The meaning of a sentence can be totally changed, when dealing with medical information, with something as simple as a “don’t” or “not”. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
completely changed with one missed number.

The slightest detail matters when it comes to medical care. When those little details are missed, it can produce serious medical issues.

Having Your Hearing Loss Treated

If you have hearing loss, you might be missing needed medical advice. 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.