Tom is excited, he’s getting a new knee! Hey, the things you look forward to change as you get older. He will be capable of moving around more freely and will have less pain with his new knee. So the surgery is successful and Tom goes home.
That’s when things take a turn.
Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. An infection takes hold, and Tom ends up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom isn’t as psyched by this point. As the nurses and doctors try to figure out what took place, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery guidelines.
Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the guidelines. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. It just so happens that there is a solid link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t alone.
More hospital visits can be the result of hearing loss
At this point, you’re likely acquainted with the common disadvantages of hearing loss: you tend to socially separate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and loved ones, and you increase your risk of developing dementia. But we’re finally starting to comprehend some of the less evident disadvantages to hearing loss.
Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. People who suffer from neglected hearing loss have a greater risk of going 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?
This could be the situation for a couple of reasons.
- Your situational awareness can be impacted 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 types of injuries can, obviously, send you to the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).
- Once you’re in the hospital, your chance of readmission goes up substantially. Readmission occurs when you’re released from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then have to go back to the hospital. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. Readmission can also happen because the initial problem wasn’t correctly managed or even from a new issue.
Increased risk of readmission
Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have untreated hearing loss? This happens for a couple of reasons:
- If you have untreated hearing loss, you may not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses give you. For example, if you can’t hear what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you will be unable to perform your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise might. This can result in a longer recovery time while you’re in the hospital as well as a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- Caring for yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the guidelines. You have an increased likelihood of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.
Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently undergone surgery to replace your knee. Maybe you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. And you might find yourself back in the hospital with a serious infection.
Keeping track of your hearing aids
At first glimpse, the solution here may seem simple: just wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed because of how gradually it develops. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.
Even if you do have a pair of hearing aids (and you should), there’s another complication: you might lose them. Hospital visits are frequently quite chaotic. So the possibility of losing your hearing aid is absolutely present. You will be better able to stay involved in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to handle your hearing aid.
Tips for prepping for a hospital visit when you have hearing loss
Knowing how to prepare for a hospital stay when you’re dealing with hearing loss can avert a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a few basic things you can do:
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well informed about your situation.
- Don’t forget to bring your case. It’s really important to have a case for your hearing aids. This will make them much easier to keep track of.
- Be aware of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
- Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and keep them in their case when you’re not using them.
- Encourage your loved ones to advocate for you. You should always be advocating on your own behalf in a hospital setting.
The key here is to communicate with the hospital at every stage. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and doctors about your hearing loss.
Hearing is a health issue
It’s important to realize that your hearing health and your general health are closely linked. After all, your hearing can have a significant affect on your general health. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is the same as a broken arm, in that each of these health issues calls for prompt treatment in order to prevent possible complications.
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.