Tom is getting a new knee and he’s really jazzed! Look, as you age, the types 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 the surgery is a success and Tom goes home.
But that isn’t the end of it.
The knee doesn’t heal properly. An infection sets in, and Tom winds 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 happened, it becomes evident that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery guidelines.
So here’s the thing: it isn’t that Tom didn’t want to follow those recovery instructions. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. Tom can take some comfort in the fact that he isn’t by himself: there’s a strong link between hospital visits and hearing loss.
Hearing loss can result in more hospital visits
The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already acquainted with: you have the tendency to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more distant from friends and loved ones, and you raise your risk of developing 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 clear is that hearing loss can lead to an increase in emergency room trips. One study discovered that people with hearing loss have a 17% greater risk of requiring a visit to the emergency room and a 44% higher chance of readmission later.
Is there a connection?
There are a couple of reasons why this could be.
- Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by neglected hearing loss. Anything from a stubbed toe to a car accident will be more likely to occur if you’re not aware of your surroundings. Of course, you could end up in the hospital because of this.
- Once you’re in the hospital, your chance of readmission increases considerably. Readmission happens when you’re released from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Sometimes this happens because a complication occurs. In other instances, readmission may result from a new issue, or because the original issue wasn’t properly addressed.
Increased chances of readmission
Why is readmission more likely for people who have neglected hearing loss? There are a couple of reasons for this:
- When your doctors and nurses give you instructions you might not hear them very well because of your neglected hearing loss. For instance, if you can’t understand what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you will be unable to do your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise might. This can result in a longer recovery time while you’re in the hospital and also a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
- If you can’t hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to care for yourself as you continue recovering at home. You have a higher likelihood of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.
For example, let’s pretend you’ve recently undergone knee replacement surgery. Maybe you’re not supposed to take a shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. And you could find yourself back in the hospital with a serious infection.
Keeping track of your hearing aids
At first glimpse, the solution here may seem basic: just wear your hearing aids! Regrettably, hearing loss often progresses very gradually, and those with hearing loss may not always realize they are feeling its effects. 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 possibility of losing them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. So the probability of losing your hearing aid is definitely present. You will be better able to remain engaged in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to deal with your hearing aid.
Tips for bringing your hearing aids with you during a hospital stay
Knowing how to prepare for a hospital stay when you’re dealing with hearing loss can prevent lots of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. There are some easy things you can do:
- Don’t forget to bring your case. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. This will make them a lot easier to keep track of.
- Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more educated you are about your hearing loss, the less likelihood there is for a miscommunication to happen.
- Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
- Whenever you can, use your hearing aids, and when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.
- 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 concern
It’s important to realize that your hearing health and your general health are closely linked. After all, your hearing can have a considerable affect on your general health. Hearing loss is like any other health issue in that it needs to be treated as soon as possible.
The ability to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you have to go in for a hospital stay.