Tom is thrilled, he’s getting a brand new knee! Look, as you grow older, the kinds of things you get excited about change. He will be able to move moving around more easily and will experience less pain with his new knee. So Tom is admitted, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!
That’s when things take a turn.
The knee doesn’t heal properly. Tom ends up back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. It’s becoming less thrilling for Tom by the minute. As the nurses and doctors attempt to determine what happened, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery instructions.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the instructions. The issue is that he never heard them. Tom can feel a little better in the fact that he’s not by himself: there’s a strong connection between hearing loss and hospital visits.
More hospital visits can be the outcome of hearing loss
At this point, you’re probably familiar with the common disadvantages of hearing loss: you grow more withdrawn from your loved ones, you increase your risk of social solitude, and have an increased danger of developing dementia. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less obvious disadvantages to hearing loss.
One of those relationships that’s becoming more apparent is that hearing loss can lead to an increase in emergency room visits. One study revealed that people with hearing loss have a 17% higher risk of requiring a visit to the emergency room and a 44% increased risk of readmission later.
What’s the connection?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be.
- Your situational awareness can be affected 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 what’s around you. These sorts of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
- Your possibility of readmission substantially increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission happens when you’re discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. In other cases, readmission might result from a new issue, or because the original problem wasn’t properly addressed.
Chances of readmission is increased
So why are those with untreated hearing loss more likely to be readmitted to the hospital? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- When your nurses and doctors give you guidelines you might not hear them very well because of your untreated hearing loss. For example, if you can’t hear what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you will be unable to perform 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.
- Caring for yourself after you get home will be nearly impossible if you don’t hear the instructions. You have an increased likelihood of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.
For instance, let’s pretend you’ve recently undergone knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon may tell you not to take a shower for the next 3 weeks, but you hear 3 days instead. Now your wound is in danger of getting a serious infection (one that could put you back at the hospital).
Keeping track of your hearing aids
At first glimpse, the solution here might seem basic: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Unfortunately, hearing loss usually progresses very slowly, and individuals with hearing loss may not always recognize they are feeling its effects. The solution here is to make an appointment for a hearing exam with us.
Even after you’ve taken the steps and invested in a pair of hearing aids, there’s still the possibility of losing them. Hospital trips are frequently rather chaotic. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain involved in your care.
Tips for bringing your hearing aids with you during a hospital stay
If you’re dealing with hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, many of the headaches and discomfort can be prevented by knowing how to get yourself ready. Here are a number of basic things you can do:
- Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.
- In a hospital environment, you should always advocate for yourself and ask your loved ones to advocate for you.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
- Don’t forget your case. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
- Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well informed about your situation.
The key here is to communicate with the hospital at every phase. Your doctors and nurses should be made aware of your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health problems
It’s important to recognize that your hearing health and your general health are closely related. After all, your hearing can have a significant affect on your general health. Hearing loss is like any other health issue in that it needs to be addressed right away.
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.