Tom is thrilled, he’s getting a brand new knee! Hey, the things you get excited about change as you age. He will be able to move moving around more freely and will experience less pain with this knee replacement. So Tom goes in, the operation is successful, and Tom heads home!
But that’s not the end of it.
Unfortunately, the healing process doesn’t go very well. An infection sets in, and Tom winds up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom is not as psyched by this point. The nurses and doctors have come to the conclusion that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and instructions for recovery.
So here’s the thing: it’s not that Tom didn’t want to observe those recovery instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. It just so happens that there is a strong link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t alone.
Hearing loss can lead to more hospital visits
The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most people are already familiar with: you have the tendency to socially separate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and loved ones, and you increase your danger of developing cognitive decline. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less obvious disadvantages 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. People who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a greater risk of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to need to be readmitted later, according to one study.
What’s the link?
This might be the situation for a couple of reasons.
- Your potential of readmission significantly increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re discharged and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission happens. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. Readmission can also happen because the initial issue wasn’t correctly managed or even from a new problem.
- Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by untreated hearing loss. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you might be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. These kinds of injuries can, of course, send you to the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
Chances of readmission is increased
Why is readmission more likely for people who have neglected hearing loss? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- If you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses give you. You won’t be able to properly do your physical therapy, for example, 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 guidelines. You have a higher chance of reinjuring yourself if you’re not even aware that you didn’t hear the instructions.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently had surgery to replace your knee. Perhaps 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
The answer might seem straight-forward at first glimpse: just use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed because of how gradually it advances. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.
Even if you do have a set of hearing aids (and you should), there’s another situation: you might lose them. It’s often a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. So the possibility of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. You will be better able to stay involved in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to handle your hearing aid.
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, many of the headaches and discomfort can be avoided by knowing how to get yourself ready. There are some easy things you can do:
- Whenever you can, use your hearing aids, and when you aren’t using them, make sure to keep them in the case.
- In a hospital setting, always advocate for yourself and ask your loved ones to advocate for you.
- Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less likelihood there is for a miscommunication to occur.
- Don’t forget your case. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. This will make them a lot easier to keep track of.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
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 concern
It’s important to acknowledge that your hearing health and your overall health are closely linked. After all your general health can be considerably affected by your hearing. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is no different than 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 need to go in for a hospital stay.