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September 07, 2004

Lack of hearing loss treatment second most common healthcare mistake

Hearing loss is the third most common affliction among elderly people in the United States and many other countries, surpassed in frequency only by high blood pressure and arthritis.

But while the elderly commonly go to their doctors for treatment of high blood pressure and arthritis, fewer than one in five, who could benefit from hearing aids, seek treatment for their hearing loss.

The Institute for Healthcare Advancement, IHA, based in California, has identified the refusal to wear hearing aids or other aids, such as eyeglasses or dentures, as the second most common mistake seniors make in caring for their health. Along with the refusal to use a walker, when appropriate, this behavior may prevent the senior from obtaining helpful assistance with some of the problems of aging.

This kind of resistance to the aging process and its appearance is detrimental to the individuals themselves and to their surrounding relatives, friends or colleagues.

The number one error is operating a car when it is no longer safe. Other errors include:

  • reluctance to discuss intimate health problems with the doctor or health care provider
  • not understanding what the doctor told them about their health problem or medical treatment plan
  • disregarding the serious potential for a fall
  • failure to have a system or a plan for managing medicines
  • not having a single doctor or healthcare provider who looks at the overall medical plan for treatment
  • not seeking medical attention when early possible warning signs occur
  • failure to participate in prevention programmes, and
  • not asking loved ones for help.

 

Source: Institute for Healthcare Advancement (www.iha4health.org), 7th of November, 2003

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