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 may be missing important health information because of hearing loss. At a time when following medical advice is so essential, patients could be missing vital details about their care.

Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic

Hearing loss is a big problem. Disabling hearing loss is an issue worldwide for around a third of individuals who are 65 or older.

If we go further, we see that surprisingly only around 30% of those same senior citizens suffering from hearing loss have, or make use of, solutions that would improve their hearing. This trend isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll show next.

The Significance of Communication in Medical Care

Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still one of the leading causes of death. A report from Harvard revealed that as many as 37% of serious injuries that resulted from medical errors could have been prevented with better communication. An improved ability to communicate crucial information with patients could save lives.

How Hearing Loss Impacts Medical Care

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

Doctors and nurses advise you regarding certain health objectives. Perhaps they’re talking to you about healthy insulin or blood pressure levels. They may tell you to abstain from certain foods to prevent spikes in these numbers that can be harmful. Handling your condition could get away from you if you miss crucial advice.

These medical providers might explain danger zones that suggest that you need medical care. If you don’t understand completely what the doctor is communicating, you might miss essential warning signs and put off on getting help.

There may be important details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to make you aware of. You believe you heard everything but you lose an important detail and wind up in the hospital.

Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building regimen but warns you not to engage in a particular activity. You miss the recommendation and suffer a serious fall as a result.

Why Communicating Medical Information is Particularly Demanding

Putting medical information in the correct context is especially difficult. 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 pretty good at. 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 totally alter the meaning of a sentence. One number misunderstood could completely alter a dosage, a goal, or a danger zone.

The slightest detail makes a big difference when it comes to medical care. Missing them has been shown to lead to medical errors.

Having Your Hearing Loss Addressed

You could be missing crucial 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.