The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss on Health Care Results

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

Research estimates 43% of patients over 60 might be missing crucial health information as a result of hearing loss. At a time when following medical guidance is so important, patients could be missing vital details about their care.

Hearing Loss – A Worldwide Epidemic

Hearing loss is a major issue. Debilitating hearing loss is a problem worldwide for about a third of individuals over 65.

But astoundingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who have disabling hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. When it comes to medical care, this isn’t good news.

With Health Care – Communication is Key

One of the leading causes of death is medical error and miscommunication is a leading cause of medical error. A study from Harvard showed that as many as 37% of severe injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been avoided with better communication. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care

Statistics can seem a bit fuzzy and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some important information you might miss when speaking with pharmacists, nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals.

When it comes to reaching health goals, the advice of health care professionals is a vital element. 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 numbers that can be harmful. Controlling your condition could get away from you if you miss crucial advice.

These medical providers may explain danger zones that indicate that you require medical care. You may not get the help that you require because you didn’t fully comprehend what your doctor was saying.

Your pharmacist may 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.

Your physical therapist puts you on a strength-building regimen but warns you against a certain activity. You might suffer a serious fall because you missed that advice.

Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Demanding

Discussing medical information is especially difficult because of a little thing called context. When you miss something because 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. You might even come to think that you heard something that you actually didn’t hear, it’s that good at compensating.

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

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

Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed

You could be missing vital medical advice if you have hearing loss. It’s time to do something about 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.