Hearing Loss May Affect Patient and Doctor Communications
“Hearing loss has long been neglected in the medical community,” said Chodosh. “As a geriatrician, I see many patients who struggle to hear what I’m saying to them. That makes me less certain that they are getting what they need.”
The findings suggest that research on communication between healthcare professionals and older adults has largely overlooked a highly prevalent, important, and remediable influence on the quality of communication.
“Patients are often older people, for whom hearing loss is a daily issue,” said Blustein. “It’s also an issue that’s ripe for research: how can we attend to and improve hearing and understanding so that patients get the best quality care possible?”
Co-author Barbara Weinstein, PhD, of City University of New York and New York University School of Medicine, added that by adopting strategies to optimize communication between physicians and those under their care, the clinical encounter can be more productive with less effort required on the part of both parties.
In an accompanying editorial, Frank Lin, MD, PhD, of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, of the Duke University School of Medicine noted that the review offers a major opportunity for practice improvement. “Common sense, low (or no) cost strategies can be employed to mitigate the negative impact of both hearing and vision loss in patient communication,” they wrote. “And some accommodations (e.g. minimizing ambient noise, speaking face to face, creating patient education materials with large-print font) are so simple and potentially beneficial that they could be implemented universally.”
Source: Wiley, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Image credit: Hearing Review
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