The Effects of Untreated Hearing Loss on Health Care Outcomes

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

Important health information is missed by an estimated 43% of patients who are 60 or older, based on recent research. Major information, with regards to health care, could be missed because of hearing loss.

There is a Worldwide Hearing Epidemic

Hearing loss isn’t a small problem. Debilitating hearing loss is an issue worldwide for about a third of individuals over 65.

But shockingly, if we go a little deeper we find that only 30% of those people who suffer from debilitating hearing loss have taken steps to better their situation. This trend isn’t good news for medical care as we’ll show next.

With Medical Care – Communication is Essential

Miscommunication is one of the major causes of medical errors, and medical errors are still a leading cause of death. Up to 37% of serious 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 important information could be better communicated with patients.

How Medical Care is Affected by Hearing Loss

Statistics can seem a bit abstract and hard to get one’s head around so let’s consider some significant 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 key element. They may talk about what healthy levels are for things like blood sugar or blood pressure. There are particular things that can be harmful if they are not managed in a way that your health care professional advises. Controlling your condition could become a problem if you miss crucial advice.

You may be in a situation where your physician informs you that you require medical attention. You might not get the assistance that you need because you didn’t fully comprehend what your doctor was explaining.

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

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

It’s Particularly Challenging to Talk About Medical Data

Communicating medical information is particularly difficult because of a little thing called context. When you miss some piece of information 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 rather good at. You may 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 small as a “don’t” or “not” can totally alter the meaning of a sentence. A danger zone, goal, or dosage, might be
entirely altered with one missed number.

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

Having Your Hearing Loss Treated

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

The content of this blog is the intellectual property of and is reprinted here with permission. The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive a hearing aid consultation, call today to schedule an appointment.