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

Tom is excited, he’s getting a brand new knee! Look, as you grow older, the types of things you get excited about change. His knee replacement means he will experience less pain and be able to get out and about a lot better. So the operation is successful and Tom goes home.

That’s when things go wrong.

Unfortunately, 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 isn’t as psyched by this point. As the nurses and doctors attempt to determine what occurred, it becomes evident that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery instructions.

Tom didn’t purposely ignore the instructions. The issue is that he didn’t hear 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 consequence of hearing loss

The common disadvantages of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already familiar with: you tend to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and family, and you raise your risk of developing cognitive decline. But there can be additional, less apparent disadvantages to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just starting to actually understand.

Increased emergency room visits is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. People who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a higher danger of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to need to be readmitted later, as reported by one study.

What’s the connection?

This might be the case for a couple of reasons.

  • Your chance of readmission considerably increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission happens when you are discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes happen that lead to this readmission. Readmission can also occur because the initial problem wasn’t properly managed or even from a new issue.
  • Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. Anything from a stubbed toe to a car accident will be more likely to occur if you’re not aware of your surroundings. Of course, you could wind up in the hospital due to this.

Chances 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:

  • When your doctors and nurses give you instructions you may not hear them very well because of your neglected 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 instructions. You have an increased chance of reinjuring yourself if you’re not even aware that you didn’t hear the instructions.

For example, let’s pretend 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. And you could find yourself back in the hospital with a serious infection.

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer might seem straight-forward at first glimpse: you just need to use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed because of how gradually it progresses. 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 set of hearing aids, there’s still the chance you may lose them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you need to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. Knowing how to deal with hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain engaged in your care.

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

If you have hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, many of the headaches and discomfort can be avoided by knowing how to prepare. Here are a few basic things you can do:

  • 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 occur.
  • Don’t forget to bring your case. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
  • Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
  • Wear your hearing aids when you can, and when you aren’t using them, make sure to keep them in the case.
  • Urge your loved ones to advocate for you. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.

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

Hearing loss can cause health issues

It’s important to recognize that your hearing health and your general health are closely linked. After all, your hearing can have a considerable impact on your general health. Hearing loss is like any other health problem in that it needs to be treated right away.

You don’t need to be like Tom. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, make sure your hearing aids are with you.

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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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