Tom is getting a brand new knee and he’s super pumped! Look, as you get older, the types of things you look forward to change. His knee replacement means he will experience less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So Tom goes in, the operation is a success, and Tom heads home!
That’s when things take a turn.
Unfortunately, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. An infection sets in, 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 conclusion that Tom wasn’t following their advice and instructions for recovery.
So here’s the thing: it isn’t that Tom didn’t want to follow those recovery instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. It just so happens that there is a solid connection between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t alone.
More hospital visits can be the consequence of hearing loss
By now, you’re likely familiar with the common drawbacks of hearing loss: you tend to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and family, and you increase your risk of developing cognitive decline. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less obvious disadvantages to hearing loss.
Increased emergency room visits is one of those relationships that’s becoming more clear. People who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a higher danger of taking a trip to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have to be readmitted later, as reported by one study.
Is there a connection?
This could be the case for a couple of reasons.
- Your likelihood of readmission significantly increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission happens when you are released from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. Readmission can also happen because the original problem wasn’t correctly managed or even from a new issue.
- Neglected 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.
Increased chances of readmission
So why are those 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 guidelines you might not hear them very well because of your untreated 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 period while you’re in the hospital and also a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- If you can’t hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to care for 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.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently had surgery to replace your knee. Your surgeon may tell you not to shower for the next 3 weeks, but you hear 3 days instead. 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 might seem basic: you just need to use your hearing aids! Regrettably, hearing loss usually develops very slowly, and those with hearing loss may not always recognize they are feeling its effects. 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 possibility of losing them. Hospital visits are frequently rather chaotic. Which means there’s a lot of potential to lose your hearing aids. You will be better able to remain engaged in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to handle your hearing aid.
Tips for taking your hearing aids with you during a hospital stay
Knowing how to get ready for a hospital stay when you’re dealing with hearing loss can prevent a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a number of basic things you can do:
- Don’t forget to bring your case. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better taken care of that way.
- Encourage your loved ones to advocate for you. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.
- Wear your hearing aids whenever you can, and put them in their case when you’re not wearing them.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more educated you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to occur.
The trick here is to communicate with the hospital at every stage. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health problems
It’s important to recognize that your hearing health and your general health are closely linked. After all, your hearing can have a substantial 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 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.