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 easily and will experience less pain with his new knee. So the surgery is successful and Tom goes home.
That’s when things take a turn.
The knee doesn’t heal properly. An infection takes hold, and Tom winds up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom is not as excited by this point. As the nurses and doctors attempt to determine what took place, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery instructions.
So here’s the thing: it’s not that Tom didn’t want to observe those recovery guidelines. The problem is that he didn’t hear them. Tom can take some comfort in the fact that he isn’t by himself: there’s a strong connection between hospital visits and hearing loss.
More hospital visits can be the consequence of hearing loss
The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most people are already acquainted with: you grow more distant from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social solitude, and have an increased risk of getting cognitive decline. But we’re finally beginning to comprehend some of the less apparent 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. One study found that people with hearing loss have a 17% greater danger of needing a trip to the emergency room and a 44% higher risk of readmission later.
What’s the connection?
This might be the situation for a couple of reasons.
- Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by untreated hearing loss. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to get into a car accident or stub your toe. These sorts of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
- Your possibility of readmission significantly increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re released and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission happens. Sometimes this happens because a complication occurs. In other cases, readmission may be the outcome of a new problem, or because the original problem wasn’t addressed correctly.
Chances of readmission is increased
Why is readmission more likely for people who have untreated hearing loss? This occurs for a couple of reasons:
- If you have untreated hearing loss, you might not be able to hear the instructions that your nurses and doctors give you. You won’t be able to effectively do your physical therapy, for instance, if you fail to hear the instructions 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 instructions, 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’re not even aware that you didn’t hear the instructions.
For instance, let’s say you’ve recently had knee replacement surgery. Perhaps you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. Now your wound is at risk of getting a serious infection (one that could land you back at the hospital).
Keeping track of your hearing aids
At first glimpse, the solution here may seem basic: you just need to use your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it frequently goes undetected because of how slowly it progresses. Coming in to see us for a hearing exam is the solution here.
Even after you’ve taken the steps and invested in a pair of hearing aids, there’s still the possibility of losing them. Hospital trips are often rather chaotic. Which means there’s lots of potential of losing your hearing aids. Knowing how to deal with hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain involved in your care.
Tips for prepping for a hospital visit when you have hearing loss
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. Here are a number of basic things you can do:
- Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and keep them in their case when you’re not using them.
- 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 happen.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if needed.
- Urge your loved ones to advocate on your behalf. You should always be advocating for yourself in a hospital setting.
- Bring your case with you. It’s very important to have a case for your hearing aids. This will make them much easier to keep track of.
Communication with the hospital at every stage is the trick here. Your doctors and nurses should be told about your hearing loss.
Hearing loss can cause health problems
So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two totally different things. After all your general health can be substantially affected by your hearing. Hearing loss is like any other health problem in that it needs to be addressed as soon as possible.
The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you need to go in for a hospital stay.