Tom is getting a brand new knee and he’s super pumped! Hey, the things you look forward to change as you get older. His knee replacement means he will suffer from less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So Tom is admitted, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!
But that’s not the end of it.
Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go very well. Tom finds himself back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. Tom is not as psyched by this point. As the nurses and doctors try to determine what occurred, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery guidelines.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the guidelines. The issue is that he never heard them. Tom can take some comfort in the fact that he’s not by himself: there’s a solid connection between hospital visits and hearing loss.
More hospital visits can be the outcome of hearing loss
At this point, you’re probably acquainted with the typical drawbacks of hearing loss: you have the tendency to socially separate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and family, and you increase your danger of developing cognitive decline. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less obvious drawbacks to hearing loss.
One of those relationships that’s becoming more clear is that hearing loss can result in an increase in emergency room visits. One study found that people with hearing loss have a 17% higher danger of requiring a trip to the emergency room and a 44% increased chance of readmission later on.
Is there a link?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be.
- Your chance of readmission substantially increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission occurs when you are released from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes happen that result in this readmission. Readmission can also occur because the initial problem wasn’t properly managed or even from a new problem.
- Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by neglected hearing loss. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you might 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).
Risk of readmission is increased
Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have untreated hearing loss? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- When your doctors and nurses give you guidelines you may not hear them very well because of your untreated hearing loss. For instance, if you can’t understand what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you will be unable to perform your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise would. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery time 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 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 instance, you’ve recently had surgery to replace your knee. Perhaps you’re not supposed to 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 may seem straight-forward at first glimpse: just use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it often goes undetected because of how gradually it advances. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.
Even after you’ve taken the measures and invested in a set of hearing aids, there’s still the possibility of losing them. Hospital trips are usually rather chaotic. Which means there’s a lot of potential to lose your hearing aids. You will be better able to stay involved in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to deal with your hearing aid.
Tips for prepping for a hospital stay 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 prevented by knowing how to get yourself ready. Here are a few basic things you can do:
- Be aware of your battery power. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
- Don’t forget to bring your case. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better taken care of that way.
- Whenever you can, use your hearing aids, and put them in their case when you’re not wearing them.
- Urge your loved ones to advocate on your behalf. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.
- Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well notified about your situation.
The trick here is to communicate with the hospital at every phase. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing is a health issue
It’s important to acknowledge that your hearing health and your general health are closely related. After all your overall health can be significantly impacted by your hearing. In many ways, hearing loss is the same as a broken arm, in that each of these health problems requires prompt treatment in order to prevent possible complications.
You don’t need to be like Tom. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you have to go in for a hospital stay.