Female doctor communicating with older man who has hearing loss in wheelchair examining reports at the hospital corridor.

Tom is getting a new knee and he’s really jazzed! Look, as you grow older, the types of things you look forward to change. His knee replacement means he will feel less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So the operation is successful and Tom goes home.

But that’s not the end of it.

The knee doesn’t heal as well as it should. An infection takes hold, and Tom winds up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. It’s getting less exciting for Tom by the minute. As the nurses and doctors try to determine what occurred, it becomes clear 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 instructions. 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 connection between hospital visits and hearing loss.

More hospital visits can be the result of hearing loss

At this point, you’re probably familiar with the typical disadvantages of hearing loss: you become more withdrawn from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social separation, and have an increased risk of getting cognitive decline. But we’re finally starting to understand some of the less apparent drawbacks to hearing loss.

Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more apparent. People who struggle with untreated hearing loss have a higher 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.

Is there a link?

There are a couple of reasons why this could be.

  • Your likelihood of readmission considerably 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 occurs. Complications sometimes occur that lead to this readmission. Readmission can also occur because the original issue wasn’t properly managed or even from a new issue.
  • 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. Of course, you could end up in the hospital due to this.

Increased chances of readmission

So why are individuals with neglected hearing loss more likely to be readmitted to the hospital? This happens for a couple of reasons:

  • If you have neglected hearing loss, you may 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 guidelines from your physical therapist. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery duration could be greatly increased.
  • Taking care of yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the guidelines. You have a higher chance of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.

For instance, let’s say you’ve recently had knee replacement surgery. Maybe you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. Now your wound is in danger of developing a severe infection (one that could land you back at the hospital).

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer might seem simple at first glance: just wear your hearing aids! Regrettably, hearing loss usually advances very gradually, and people with hearing loss may not always realize they are experiencing symptoms. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.

Even after you’ve taken the measures and invested in a pair of hearing aids, there’s still the chance you may lose them. Hospital visits are frequently quite chaotic. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain engaged in your care.

Tips for preparing 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 when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.
  • In a hospital setting, you should always advocate for yourself and ask your family to advocate for you.
  • Make sure that the hospital staff is aware of your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well notified about your situation.
  • Don’t forget to bring your case. It’s really important to use a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better cared for that way.
  • 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 key here. Your doctors and nurses need to be made aware of your hearing loss.

Hearing is a health concern

It’s important to acknowledge that your hearing health and your general health are closely linked. After all, your hearing can have a substantial impact on your overall health. In many ways, hearing loss is no different than a broken arm, in that each of these health problems calls for prompt treatment in order to avoid possible complications.

The power to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, make sure your hearing aids are with you.

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The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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