Tom is excited, he’s getting a new knee! Look, as you get older, the kinds of things you look forward to change. He will be able to move moving around more easily and will have less pain with this knee replacement. So Tom is admitted, the operation is successful, and Tom heads home!
That’s when things take a turn.
Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go very well. An infection takes hold, and Tom ends up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. It’s becoming less thrilling for Tom by the minute. As the doctors and nurses try to figure out what happened, it becomes evident that Tom wasn’t following his recovery guidelines.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the guidelines. The problem is that he didn’t hear them. Tom can feel a little better in the fact that he’s not alone: there’s a strong link between hearing loss and hospital visits.
More hospital visits can be the outcome of hearing loss
At this point, you’re probably familiar with the common drawbacks of hearing loss: you have the tendency to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and family, and you raise 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 trips. One study revealed that individuals with hearing loss have a 17% greater danger of requiring a trip to the emergency room and a 44% higher chance of readmission later on.
What’s the link?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be.
- Once you’re in the hospital, your likelihood of readmission increases substantially. But when you’re released and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission occurs. Complications sometimes happen that result in this readmission. Readmission can also happen because the original problem wasn’t properly managed or even from a new problem.
- Neglected hearing loss can negatively impact your situational awareness. Anything from a stubbed toe to a car accident will be more likely to take place if you aren’t aware of what’s around you. Of course, you could wind up in the hospital due to this.
Increased chances of readmission
Why is readmission more likely for people who have untreated hearing loss? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- When your nurses and doctors give you guidelines you may 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 instructions from your physical therapist. This can lead to a longer recovery time while you’re in the hospital as well as a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- Taking care of yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the guidelines. If you’re unable to hear the instructions (and especially if you’re not aware that you aren’t hearing your instructions properly), you’re more likely to reinjure yourself.
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. Now your wound is in danger of getting a serious infection (one that could land you back at the hospital).
Keeping track of your hearing aids
The answer may seem simple at first glance: just use your hearing aids! Regrettably, hearing loss usually develops very gradually, and those with hearing loss might not always realize they are experiencing symptoms. The solution here is to make an appointment for a hearing exam with us.
Even after you’ve taken the measures 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. Which means there’s a lot of potential of losing your hearing aids. You will be better able to remain 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
Knowing how to get ready for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss can prevent lots of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. There are some simple things you can do:
- Bring your case with you. It’s very important to use a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better taken care of that way.
- Use your hearing aids when you can, and when you aren’t wearing them, make certain to keep them in the case.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well informed about your situation.
- In a hospital setting, you should always advocate for yourself and ask your loved ones to advocate for you.
- Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
Communication with the hospital at every phase is the trick here. Your doctors and nurses need to be told about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health issues
So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your general wellness as two completely different things. After all your overall health can be substantially impacted by your hearing. Hearing loss is like any other health issue in that it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
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.