Tom is thrilled, he’s getting a brand new knee! Hey, the things you get excited about change as you age. His knee replacement means he will feel 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.
The knee doesn’t heal properly. Tom ends up back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. It’s getting less thrilling for Tom by the minute. The doctors and nurses have come to the realization that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and guidelines for recovery.
Tom didn’t purposely ignore the instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. Tom can take some comfort in the fact that he isn’t alone: there’s a strong link between hearing loss and hospital visits.
Hearing loss can contribute to more hospital visits
The typical disadvantages of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already familiar with: you have the tendency to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more distant 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 evident disadvantages to hearing loss.
One of those relationships that’s becoming more evident is that hearing loss can result in an increase in emergency room visits. Individuals who suffer from neglected hearing loss have a greater danger of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have 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 considerably increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission occurs when you’re 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. In other cases, readmission may be the outcome of a new problem, or because the original problem wasn’t properly addressed.
- Your situational awareness can be impacted negatively by untreated hearing loss. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you might be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. Of course, you could wind up in the hospital because of this.
Chances of readmission increases
Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have untreated hearing loss? This occurs for a couple of reasons:
- If you have neglected hearing loss, you might not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses give you. For instance, if you can’t hear what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you won’t be able to do your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise would. This can result in a longer recovery period 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 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.
For instance, let’s pretend you’ve recently undergone knee replacement surgery. Perhaps you’re not supposed to take a 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
At first glance, the solution here may seem simple: you just need to use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it often goes unnoticed because of how gradually it advances. 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 chance you may lose them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. You will be better able to stay engaged in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to deal with your hearing aid.
Tips for bringing your hearing aids with you during a hospital stay
Knowing how to get ready for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss can avert a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. There are some easy things you can do:
- Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to occur.
- Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
- Use your hearing aids when you can, and when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.
- Don’t forget to bring your case. It’s very important to use a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
- In a hospital environment, always advocate for yourself and ask your family to advocate for you.
Communication with the hospital at every phase is key here. Be sure you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health issues
So perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two totally different things. After all your overall health can be substantially affected by your hearing. In many ways, hearing loss is no different than a broken arm, in that each of these health issues requires 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.