Female doctor communicating with older man who has hearing loss in wheelchair examining reports at the hospital corridor.

Tom is getting a new knee and he’s super pumped! Look, as you age, the kinds of things you get excited about change. His knee replacement means he will feel less pain and be able to get out and about a lot better. So Tom goes in, the operation is successful, and Tom goes home!

But that’s not the end of it.

Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. Tom ends up back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. Tom is not as excited by this point. The nurses and doctors have come to the conclusion that Tom wasn’t following their advice and instructions for recovery.

So here’s the thing: it’s not that Tom didn’t want to observe those recovery instructions. The issue is that he didn’t hear them. It turns out that there is a strong connection between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t by himself.

Hearing loss can contribute to more hospital visits

The common drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already familiar with: you become more distant from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social isolation, and have an increased risk of developing dementia. But there can be added, less apparent drawbacks to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to actually understand.

Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more clear. One study revealed that people with hearing loss have a 17% higher risk of needing a visit to the emergency room and a 44% higher chance of readmission later.

What’s the link?

This might be the situation for a couple of reasons.

  • Your likelihood of readmission considerably increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re discharged and go home for a time but then have to go back to the hospital, readmission occurs. Sometimes this happens because a complication occurs. Readmission can also occur because the original problem wasn’t properly managed or even from a new issue.
  • Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. These sorts of injuries can, obviously, send you to the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).

Chances of readmission increases

Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have untreated hearing loss? This occurs for a couple of reasons:

  • If you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses give you. For instance, if you can’t hear what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you won’t be able to do your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise would. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery duration could be greatly increased.
  • If you can’t hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to take care of yourself as you recover at home. If you’re unable to hear the instructions (and particularly if you don’t know you aren’t hearing your instructions properly), you’re more likely to reinjure yourself.

For instance, let’s say you’ve recently undergone knee replacement surgery. Perhaps you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. Now your wound is at risk of getting a serious infection (one that could put you back at the hospital).

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer might seem simple at first glance: just use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it often goes unnoticed because of how gradually it progresses. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.

Even after you’ve taken the steps and invested in a set of hearing aids, there’s still the possibility of losing them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. Which means there’s lots of potential to lose your hearing aids. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain involved in your care.

Tips for prepping for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss

Knowing how to get ready for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss can avert a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a number of basic things you can do:

  • Wear your hearing aids whenever you can, and keep them in their case when you’re not using them.
  • Take your case with you. It’s very important to have a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
  • Urge your loved ones to advocate on your behalf. You should always be advocating on your own behalf in a hospital setting.
  • Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
  • Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more educated you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to happen.

The key here is to communicate with the hospital at every phase. Be sure you’re telling your nurses and physicians about your hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause health issues

It’s important to acknowledge that your hearing health and your general health are closely related. After all your general health can be considerably impacted by your hearing. In many ways, hearing loss is no different than a broken arm, in that each of these health issues calls for prompt treatment in order to prevent possible complications.

The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you need to go in for a hospital stay.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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