Hearing difficulty might keep older patients away from health care routine

Washington: Patients who are 65 years and above in age, with hearing difficulties, have lower involvement in their health care routine, according to a study published in the ‘Journal of the American Geriatrics Society’.

“Poor hearing puts patients at risk for poor outcomes. For example, people with hearing loss may be unable to understand their doctor when she explains medication changes,” said senior author Dr Jan Blustein.

The study done on 13,490 adults of 65 years and above in age analysed ‘patient activation’, or the knowledge, skills and the confidence that enables them to actively follow their health care routine.

The results of ‘no trouble’ hearing were compared with those reporting ‘some trouble’ hearing. The latter had 42 per cent higher risk of low ‘patient activation’.

While some people who complained of a ‘lot of trouble’ hearing, had a 70 per cent higher risk.

The authors of the study noted that if clinicians stay aware of the hearing troubles, their use of simple steps to enhance communication could be a positive step towards the patient’s participation in their health care.

“Attending to hearing loss could pay off in greater patient involvement in care and better health,” Dr Jan Blustein said.