Tom is getting a new knee and he’s super pumped! Look, as you grow older, the types of things you get excited about change. He will be capable of moving around more easily and will have less pain with this knee replacement. So the operation is successful and Tom heads home.
But that isn’t the end of it.
The knee doesn’t heal properly. An infection takes hold, and Tom ends up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom isn’t as excited by this point. The nurses and doctors have come to the realization that Tom wasn’t following their advice and guidelines for recovery.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the guidelines. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. Tom can feel a little better in the fact that he’s not alone: there’s a solid link between hearing loss and hospital visits.
Hearing loss can lead to more hospital visits
At this point, you’re most likely familiar with the common disadvantages of hearing loss: you become more distant from your loved ones, you increase your risk of social solitude, and have an increased risk of developing dementia. But we’re finally starting to comprehend some of the less obvious drawbacks to hearing loss.
Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. People who struggle with neglected hearing loss have a higher risk of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to need to be readmitted later on, according to one study.
What’s the link?
There are a couple of reasons why this might be.
- Your potential of readmission considerably increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re released and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission happens. Complications sometimes occur that lead to this readmission. In other instances, readmission might be the outcome of a new issue, or because the initial issue wasn’t addressed correctly.
- Neglected hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to get into 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).
Increased risk of readmission
So why are people with neglected 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 instructions you might not hear them very well because of your neglected hearing loss. You won’t be able to effectively do your physical therapy, for instance, if you fail to hear the guidelines from your physical therapist. This can lead to a longer recovery duration while you’re in the hospital as well as a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- If you’re unable to hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to take care of yourself as you continue recovering at home. You have a higher chance of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.
For instance, let’s say you’ve recently had knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon might tell you not to 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
At first glance, the answer here may seem basic: just wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it frequently goes undetected because of how gradually it advances. Coming in to see us for a hearing exam is the solution here.
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. Which means there’s a lot of potential to lose your hearing aids. Knowing how to deal with 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 have 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 simple things you can do:
- Whenever you can, use your hearing aids, and when you aren’t wearing them, make certain to keep them in the case.
- Take your case with you. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
- Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to occur.
- Encourage your loved ones to advocate for you. You should always be advocating on your own behalf in a hospital setting.
Communication with the hospital at every stage is key here. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing is a health issue
It’s important to realize that your hearing health and your general health are closely related. After all your overall health can be significantly affected by your hearing. Hearing loss is like any other health problem in that it needs to be treated as soon as possible.
The ability 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.