Hearing Loss Can Result in Complications During Hospitalization

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

Tom is excited, he’s getting a new knee! Hey, the things you get excited about change as you age. His knee replacement means he will feel less pain and be able to get out and about a lot better. So the surgery is successful and Tom heads home.

But that’s not the end of it.

Unfortunately, the healing process doesn’t go very well. Tom finds himself back in the hospital with an infection and will need another surgery. Tom isn’t as excited by this point. As the doctors and nurses try to figure out what occurred, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t adhering to his recovery instructions.

Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the guidelines. The issue is that he never heard them. It turns out that there is a strong link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t by himself.

Hearing loss can lead to more hospital visits

The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already acquainted with: you grow more distant from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social separation, and have an increased risk of getting dementia. But there can be added, less obvious drawbacks to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to truly understand.

One of those relationships that’s becoming more apparent is that hearing loss can lead to an increase in emergency room visits. One study revealed that individuals with hearing loss have a 17% greater risk of needing a trip to the emergency room and a 44% increased risk of readmission later.

What’s the connection?

This could be the case for a couple of reasons.

  • Once you’re in the hospital, your likelihood of readmission increases considerably. But when you’re discharged and go home for a time but then need to go back to the hospital, readmission occurs. Sometimes this happens because a complication occurs. Readmission can also occur because the initial issue wasn’t properly managed or even from a new issue.
  • Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by untreated hearing loss. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to get into a car accident or stub your toe. These kinds of injuries can, obviously, land you in the hospital (if you stub your toe hard enough).

Increased chances of readmission

Why is readmission more likely for individuals who have untreated 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 example, if you can’t understand what your physical therapist is telling you to do, you will be unable to perform your physical therapy treatment as well as you otherwise would. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery time could be greatly increased.
  • Caring for yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the guidelines. You have a higher likelihood of reinjuring yourself if you’re not even aware that you didn’t hear the instructions.

For instance, let’s pretend you’ve recently undergone 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 in danger of developing a serious infection (one that could put you back at the hospital).

Keeping track of your hearing aids

At first glimpse, the answer here might seem basic: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early stages of hearing loss, it frequently goes unnoticed because of how slowly it develops. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.

Even after you’ve taken the measures and invested in a set 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 absolutely present. 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

If you’re dealing with hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, many of the headaches and discomfort can be prevented by knowing how to prepare. Here are a few basic things you can do:

  • Don’t forget 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.
  • Whenever you can, wear your hearing aids, and when you aren’t using them, make certain 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.
  • 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.
  • Be mindful of your battery power. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if needed.

Communication with the hospital at every phase is the trick here. Your doctors and nurses should be made aware of your hearing loss.

Hearing is a health issue

So maybe it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two totally different things. After all, your hearing can have a significant impact on your overall health. In many ways, hearing loss is no different than a broken arm, in that each of these health issues requires 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 have to go in for a hospital stay.

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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