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Hearing Loss Contributing to Patient-Doctor Miscommunication

Hearing Loss Contributing to Patient-Doctor Miscommunication
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THURSDAY, Aug. 24, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Many seniors may not hear everything their doctors tell them, and that could raise the risk of medical errors, according to a research letter published online Aug. 24 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

To estimate the prevalence of hearing loss and its contribution to miscommunication between patient and health care provider, Simon Smith, from the University College Cork School of Medicine in Ireland, and colleagues enrolled study participants from the outpatient department at Cork University Hospital.

The researchers found that 57 of the 100 participating seniors had some degree of hearing loss and 26 used a hearing aid. Moreover, 43 participants said they had misheard a doctor, nurse, or both in a primary care office or hospital. The main types of mishearing included misunderstanding what was said to them, not correctly hearing a doctor’s diagnosis or advice, and general breakdown in doctor-to-patient communication.

“We recommend that content-related and setting-related factors identified as barriers to communication in adults with hearing impairment be incorporated within a patient-centered approach to clinical communication with this patient population,” the authors write.

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