Diagnostic measures of health have extended into every facet of life. Not only can we keep a record of our coming and going through smartphone technology, including the steps we take, but other bio-measures can be captured through these devices, as well. With knowledge of our bodily activity, these health measures can be used to inform other aspects of health care, even providing a record of our bodily activity that is useful for doctors and other health personnel when they are making a diagnosis.
Despite the availability of health data both within and without the visit context, communicating our needs remains a crucial aspect of healthcare. Without a conversation about our needs, symptoms, and medical history, doctors and health practitioners can feel like they are stabbing at the air looking for ways to treat our conditions. These conversations are essential to the healing process, not only as a way to source information but also as a way for patients to trust that their needs are being met.
When a person has untreated hearing loss, particularly among older populations, this process of communication can become confusing if not misguided. When we try to respond to questions from healthcare professionals, these conversations can even have the unfortunate effect of leading them in the wrong direction for diagnosis and treatment. For these reasons, addressing hearing loss may significantly improve care for older adults. When that crucial diagnostic conversation takes place, the ability to hear and respond can make the difference between appropriate treatment and a misdiagnosis.
Accommodations in Healthcare Environments
Not all older adults have received the treatment they need for hearing loss. With so many people entering the healthcare environment with hearing needs, hospitals and other facilities are required to provide assistive services, particularly for those who have severe or profound hearing loss. In some cases, this accommodation can come in the form of a sign language interpreter, but many older adults with age-related hearing loss have not acquired the skill of communication through sign language.
One of the most effective accommodations that hospitals and healthcare facilities can provide is a quiet place for conversations to take place. Particularly in urgent care environments, diagnostic conversations can take place amidst a chaotic sonic context. With other patients entering, emergency personnel moving through the space, and nothing but a fabric curtain separating one bed from the next, many people with hearing loss can struggle to make out what a doctor or nurse is saying. Providing a quiet place with a closed door for this conversation can make the difference between an appropriate diagnosis and a misdiagnosis.
Facilitating family members and loved ones to act as interpreters can be functionally beneficial, as well. With a trusted loved one standing close by, this relay process can help the conversation go more smoothly. Not only is this facilitator repeating the questions at close range, but they may also be familiar with the ways that communication can happen the most fluidly.
Hearing Loss Treatment and Healthcare
For those older adults who do have hearing loss, treatment can make the difference between getting appropriate care and going down a road of misdiagnosis. Return visits to the hospital are statistically more common for those without treatment than for those who use hearing aids during their visits. Many hospitals have systems to further accommodate those who use assistive technology, including telecoil and induction loop systems to send audio directly to hearing devices.
If your older loved one has not yet received treatment for hearing loss, these healthcare environments can be yet another reason to pursue a hearing test. When you have a thorough diagnosis of hearing ability, our hearing health professionals can make an assessment of the specific type of hearing aids that will match those needs. Not only do hearing aids assist the process of communication in healthcare environments, but they also assist communication in everyday life.
With the combination of healthy relationships and healthy bodies and minds, hearing aids are not just a convenient option; they can provide a better quality of life. Don’t delay making the appointment to embark on the path toward better hearing health for you and your family.