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 fundamental health information due to hearing loss. Important details, with regards to health care, could be missed due to hearing loss.

Hearing Loss – A Global Epidemic

Hearing loss is a big issue. Worldwide, one third of individuals over the age of 65 have disabling hearing loss.

But surprisingly, if we look a little closer we find that only 30% of those people who have debilitating hearing loss have taken steps to improve their situation. This pattern isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll show next.

With Medical Care – Communication is Key

A major cause of death is medical error and miscommunication is a primary cause of medical error. Up to 37% of serious injuries that were caused by medical errors, according to a Harvard study, wouldn’t have occurred if communication had been better. An enhanced ability to communicate important information with patients could save lives.

How Medical Care is Impacted by Hearing Loss

Statistics can seem a little abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some significant info you could miss when speaking with doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other medical professionals.

Doctors and nurses work with you regarding certain health goals. They may explain what balanced levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are particular things that can harm you if they are not handled in a way that your health care professional suggests. Handling your condition could get away from you if you miss crucial advice.

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

There may be important details about dangerous side effects of medications which your pharmacist is attempting to warn you about. You believe you heard everything but you miss a critical detail and end up hospitalized.

Your physical therapist gets you started with a strength-building program but warns you not to engage in a certain activity. You could suffer a severe fall because you missed that recommendation.

Why Communicating Medical Details is Especially Demanding

Discussing medical information is particularly difficult because of a little thing called context. When you miss something as a result of your hearing loss, you make use of context to try to fill in what you missed. Compensating for hearing loss is something that your brain is in fact pretty good at. So good, as a matter of fact, that it might even convince you that you heard something you didn’t actually hear.

With medical data something as small as a “don’t” or “not” can totally change the meaning of a sentence. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, could be
completely changed with one missed number.

The smallest detail matters when it comes to medical care. Misunderstanding them has been shown to result in medical mistakes.

Getting Help For Hearing Loss

If you’re suffering from hearing loss, you may be missing important medical advice. Now is the time to take the appropriate steps to conserve 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.