Tom is getting a brand new knee and he’s super pumped! Hey, the things you look forward to change as you age. He will be capable of moving around more easily and will have less pain with this knee replacement. So Tom is admitted, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!
But that isn’t the end of it.
Unfortunately, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. An infection sets in, and Tom ends up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom is not as psyched by this point. The doctors and nurses have come to the realization that Tom wasn’t following their advice and guidelines for recovery.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. 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.
Hearing loss can result in more hospital visits
By now, you’re likely acquainted with the typical disadvantages of hearing loss: you have the tendency to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and family, and you raise your risk of developing dementia. But we’re finally starting to comprehend some of the less apparent drawbacks to hearing loss.
Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more apparent. One study discovered that individuals with hearing loss have a 17% higher danger of needing a trip to the emergency room and a 44% increased risk of readmission later on.
What’s the connection?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be.
- Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you might be more likely to get into a car accident or stub your toe. These kinds of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
- Once you’re in the hospital, your potential of readmission increases considerably. But when you’re released and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission occurs. Sometimes this happens because a complication occurs. Readmission can also happen because the initial issue wasn’t correctly managed or even from a new problem.
Risk of readmission increases
So why are those with untreated hearing loss more likely to be readmitted to the hospital? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- If you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be able to hear the instructions that your nurses and doctors give you. You won’t be able to properly do your physical therapy, for example, if you fail to hear the guidelines from your physical therapist. This can result in a longer recovery duration while you’re in the hospital as well as a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- Taking care of yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the instructions. If you can’t hear the instructions (and especially if you don’t know you aren’t hearing your instructions properly), you’re more likely to reinjure yourself.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently had surgery to replace your knee. Your surgeon might tell you not to take a shower for the next 3 weeks, but you hear 3 days instead. And you could find yourself back in the hospital with a severe infection.
Keeping track of your hearing aids
The answer may seem straight-forward at first glimpse: just use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it often goes undetected because of how slowly it progresses. The solution here is to make an appointment for a hearing exam 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. Hospital trips are frequently very chaotic. Which means there’s a lot of potential of losing your hearing aids. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain engaged 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 prevent lots of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a few basic things you can do:
- Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and keep them in their case when you aren’t wearing them.
- Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to happen.
- Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
- Bring your case with you. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. This will make them a lot easier to keep track of.
- In a hospital setting, always advocate for yourself and ask your loved ones to advocate for you.
Communication with the hospital at every phase is key here. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and physicians about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health issues
So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two completely different things. After all your general health can be significantly affected by your hearing. 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.
The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, be certain that your hearing aids are nearby.