One of the problems with specialties in healthcare is that we tend to focus on our particular area of expertise (hearing in my case) to the exclusion of other patient problem areas. In recognition of this, I’m trying to pay attention to other needs the patient may have and provide appropriate referrals. I’m used to referring to physicians and physician specialties such as ENT, however, one non-physician specialty that came up recently was physical therapy.
An article in one of my journals looked at the possibility of associations between hearing loss, postural control, and mobility in older adults. It seems that severity of hearing loss is connected with a higher prevalence of walking difficulty and falls; that is, increased hearing loss is associated with increased falls risk. If cooperation across professions can reduce both hearing loss and falls risk, I’m all for it. So I’m working on a relationship with a local physical therapy firm, with the goal of enabling treatment for the whole person.
For those who don’t recognize the saying in the title of the post, it is “To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”