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

Tom is thrilled, he’s getting a brand new knee! Hey, the things you get excited about change as you get older. He will be capable of moving around more freely and will have less pain with his new knee. So Tom is admitted, the operation is successful, and Tom heads home!

But that’s not the end of it.

The knee doesn’t heal properly. Tom finds himself back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. It’s getting less exciting for Tom by the minute. The doctors and nurses have come to the conclusion that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and guidelines for recovery.

So here’s the thing: it isn’t that Tom didn’t want to follow those recovery guidelines. The issue is that he didn’t hear them. Tom can take some comfort in the fact that he’s not by himself: there’s a solid link between hospital visits and hearing loss.

More hospital visits can be the consequence of hearing loss

The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already acquainted with: you become more withdrawn from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social solitude, and have an increased danger of getting dementia. But there can be added, less apparent drawbacks to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just starting to actually understand.

Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. One study discovered that people with hearing loss have a 17% higher danger of needing a visit to the emergency room and a 44% higher risk of readmission later on.

What’s the link?

There are a couple of reasons why this could be.

  • Once you’re in the hospital, your likelihood of readmission increases substantially. Readmission happens when you are released from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then have to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes occur that result in this readmission. Readmission can also occur because the original issue wasn’t correctly managed or even from a new problem.
  • 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 occur if you’re not aware of what’s around you. Obviously, you could wind up in the hospital because of this.

Increased risk of readmission

So why are individuals with neglected hearing loss more likely to be readmitted to the hospital? This happens for a couple of reasons:

  • When your doctors and nurses give you guidelines you may 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 won’t be able to perform your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise might. This can lead to a longer recovery duration while you’re in the hospital as well as a longer recovery once you’re out.
  • If you can’t hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to care for yourself as you recover at home. If you can’t hear the instructions (and particularly if you’re not aware that 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. Maybe you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. And you might find yourself back in the hospital with a severe infection.

Keeping track of your hearing aids

At first glance, the solution here may seem simple: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed because of how gradually it develops. 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. It’s often a chaotic scene when you need to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is absolutely present. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain involved in your care.

Tips for preparing for a hospital visit when you have hearing loss

Knowing how to prepare for a hospital stay when you’re dealing with hearing loss can avert a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a few basic things you can do:

  • Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. The more educated you are about your hearing loss, the less likelihood there is for a miscommunication to occur.
  • Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if needed.
  • Use your hearing aids when you can, and put them in their case when you aren’t wearing them.
  • Don’t forget your case. It’s very important to have 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 on your own behalf in a hospital setting.

Communication with the hospital at every stage is the trick here. Make sure you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause health problems

So perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your general wellness as two completely different things. After all your general health can be considerably affected by your hearing. In many ways, hearing loss is the same as a broken arm, in that each of these health problems calls for prompt treatment in order to avoid possible complications.

The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. 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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