Tom is getting a brand new knee and he’s super pumped! Hey, the things you look forward to change as you get older. He will be capable of moving around more freely and will experience less pain with this knee replacement. So Tom goes in, the operation is a success, and Tom heads home!
That’s when things go wrong.
Regrettably, the healing process doesn’t go very well. Tom ends up back in the hospital with an infection and will require another surgery. It’s getting less exciting for Tom by the minute. As the doctors and nurses try to figure out what took place, it becomes evident that Tom wasn’t following his recovery instructions.
So here’s the thing: it’s not that Tom didn’t want to follow those recovery guidelines. The problem is that he never heard them. It just so happens that there is a strong connection between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t alone.
Hearing loss can lead to more hospital visits
At this point, you’re probably 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 danger of developing cognitive decline. But there can be additional, less apparent drawbacks to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to truly understand.
One of those relationships that’s becoming more clear is that hearing loss can result in an increase in emergency room visits. People who struggle with untreated hearing loss have a greater danger of taking a trip to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have to be readmitted later on, as reported by one study.
What’s the connection?
This might be the situation for a couple of reasons.
- Your possibility of readmission substantially increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re discharged and go home for a time but then have to go back to the hospital, readmission occurs. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. In other instances, readmission might be the outcome of a new problem, or because the initial problem wasn’t properly addressed.
- Your situational awareness can be impacted negatively by neglected hearing loss. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. Of course, you could end up in the hospital because of this.
Increased risk of readmission
So why are individuals with neglected hearing loss more likely to be readmitted to the hospital? This occurs for a couple of reasons:
- If you have neglected hearing loss, you may 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 guidelines from your physical therapist. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery time could be greatly increased.
- 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.
Let’s say, for example, you’ve recently undergone 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 might find yourself back in the hospital with a severe infection.
Keeping track of your hearing aids
The solution might seem simple at first glance: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it often goes undetected because of how gradually it develops. The solution here is to make an appointment for a hearing exam with us.
Even if you do have a set of hearing aids (and you should), there’s another complication: you might lose them. It’s often a chaotic scene when you need to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is absolutely present. Knowing how to handle 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’re dealing with hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, many of the headaches and discomfort can be avoided by knowing how to prepare. Here are a number of basic things you can do:
- Urge your loved ones to advocate on your behalf. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
- Don’t forget to bring your case. Using a case for your hearing aid is very important. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
- Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and put them in their case when you’re not wearing them.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well notified about your situation.
Communication with the hospital at every phase is key here. Make sure you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health issues
So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two completely different things. After all your general health can be considerably affected by your hearing. Hearing loss is like any other health problem in that it needs to be treated as soon as possible.
You don’t have to be like Tom. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, make sure your hearing aids are with you.