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 types of things you look forward to change. His knee replacement means he will suffer from less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So Tom is admitted, the operation is a success, and Tom heads home!

That’s when things take a turn.

Regrettably, the healing process doesn’t go very well. An infection sets in, and Tom winds up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. It’s getting less thrilling for Tom by the minute. As the doctors and nurses attempt to figure out what took place, it becomes evident that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery instructions.

Tom didn’t purposely ignore the instructions. The issue is that he never heard them. It just so happens that there is a solid connection between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t by himself.

More hospital visits can be the result of hearing loss

The typical disadvantages of hearing loss are something that most people are already acquainted with: you grow more withdrawn from your loved ones, you increase your risk of social separation, and have an increased danger of developing cognitive decline. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less evident drawbacks to hearing loss.

Increased emergency room visits is one of those relationships that’s becoming more apparent. Individuals who struggle with untreated hearing loss have a higher risk of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have to be readmitted later on, according to one study.

Is there a link?

This might be the case for a couple of reasons.

  • Your situational awareness can be impacted negatively by untreated hearing loss. Anything from a stubbed toe to a car accident will be more likely to happen if you’re not aware of your surroundings. These sorts of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
  • Once you’re in the hospital, your possibility of readmission goes up considerably. But when you’re discharged and go home for a time but then have to go back to the hospital, readmission happens. Complications sometimes happen that lead to this readmission. In other instances, readmission might be the outcome of a new issue, or because the original problem wasn’t addressed correctly.

Increased chances of readmission

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

  • If you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses give you. You won’t be able to effectively do your physical therapy, for instance, if you fail to hear the instructions from your physical therapist. This can result in a longer recovery duration while you’re in the hospital and also a longer recovery once you’re out.
  • Caring for yourself after you get home will be nearly impossible if you don’t hear the instructions. If you can’t hear the instructions (and especially if you’re not aware that you aren’t hearing your instructions properly), you’re more likely to reinjure yourself.

Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently undergone surgery to replace your knee. Maybe you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. Now your wound is in danger of developing a severe infection (one that could land you back at the hospital).

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer may seem simple at first glance: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Regrettably, hearing loss usually develops very slowly, and those with hearing loss may not always recognize they are feeling its effects. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.

Even after you’ve taken the measures and invested in a set of hearing aids, there’s still the chance you may lose them. It’s often a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. You will be better able to stay engaged in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to handle your hearing aid.

Tips for getting prepared for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss

If you’re dealing with hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, a lot of the headaches and discomfort can be avoided by knowing how to get yourself ready. Here are a few basic things you can do:

  • Use your hearing aids when you can, and when you aren’t using them, make sure to keep them in the case.
  • Be aware of your battery power. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
  • Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well notified about your situation.
  • Don’t forget to bring your case. It’s really important to use a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
  • Encourage your loved ones to advocate on your behalf. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.

The trick here is to communicate with the hospital at every phase. Make sure you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause health issues

So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your general wellness as two totally different things. After all, your hearing can have a substantial affect on your overall health. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is the same as a broken arm, in that each of these health issues calls for prompt treatment in order to avoid possible complications.

You don’t need to be like Tom. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you have 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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