Tom is excited, he’s getting a brand new knee! Look, as you grow older, the types of things you look forward to change. His knee replacement means he will suffer from less pain and be able to get out and about a lot better. So the operation is successful and Tom heads home.
But that’s not the end of it.
Unfortunately, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. Tom finds himself back in the hospital with an infection and will require another surgery. It’s getting less thrilling for Tom by the minute. The doctors and nurses have come to the conclusion that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and instructions for recovery.
Tom didn’t purposely ignore the instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. Tom can feel a little better in the fact that he isn’t alone: there’s a solid connection between hospital visits and hearing loss.
Hearing loss can lead to more hospital visits
The common disadvantages of hearing loss are something that most people are already familiar with: you tend to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and family, and you raise your risk of developing cognitive decline. But there can be additional, less obvious disadvantages to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to truly understand.
Increased emergency room visits is one of those relationships that’s becoming more clear. One study discovered that individuals with hearing loss have a 17% higher risk of requiring a visit to the emergency room and a 44% higher risk of readmission later on.
Is there a connection?
There are a couple of reasons why this might be.
- Your situational awareness can be impacted negatively by neglected hearing loss. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. These types of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
- Your chance of readmission significantly increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission happens when you are discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then have to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes happen that lead to this readmission. In other cases, readmission might be the outcome of a new problem, or because the original problem wasn’t addressed correctly.
Chances of readmission is increased
Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have neglected hearing loss? This occurs for a couple of reasons:
- When your doctors and nurses give you instructions you might not hear them very well because of your untreated hearing loss. You won’t be able to properly do your physical therapy, for instance, if you fail to hear the instructions from your physical therapist. 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 guidelines. 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 example, you’ve recently undergone surgery to replace your knee. Perhaps 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 serious infection (one that could put you back at the hospital).
Keeping track of your hearing aids
The solution might seem simple at first glimpse: you just need to use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it often goes undetected because of how slowly it develops. 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 chance you may lose them. Hospital visits are often really chaotic. So the possibility of losing your hearing aid is absolutely present. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain engaged in your care.
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 prevented by knowing how to get yourself ready. There are some easy things you can do:
- In a hospital setting, you should always advocate for yourself and ask your family to advocate for you.
- Wear your hearing aids whenever you can, and when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well informed about your situation.
- Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if needed.
- Take your case with you. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
Communication with the hospital at every phase is the trick here. Your doctors and nurses need to be made aware of your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health issues
So perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your general wellness as two completely different things. After all, your hearing can have a significant affect on your general health. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is the same as a broken arm, in that each of these health issues requires prompt treatment in order to prevent possible complications.
The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, make certain your hearing aids are nearby.