Hearing Loss Can Bring About 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! Look, as you get older, the kinds of things you get excited about change. He will be capable of moving around more freely and will experience less pain with his new knee. So Tom goes in, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!

That’s when things take a turn.

Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. An infection sets in, and Tom ends up back in the hospital for another knee surgery. Tom isn’t as excited by this point. The nurses and doctors have come to the conclusion that Tom wasn’t following their advice and guidelines for recovery.

So here’s the thing: it isn’t that Tom didn’t want to observe those recovery instructions. The problem is that he didn’t hear them. It just so happens that there is a solid link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t by himself.

Hearing loss can contribute to more hospital visits

The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already acquainted with: you tend to socially separate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and family, and you raise your danger of developing cognitive decline. But there can be added, less obvious disadvantages to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to really understand.

One of those relationships that’s becoming more clear is that hearing loss can result in an increase in emergency room visits. People who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a greater danger of taking a trip to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have to be readmitted later on, according to one study.

Is there a link?

There are a couple of reasons why this could be.

  • Neglected hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to get into a car accident or stub your toe. Obviously, you could wind up in the hospital because of this.
  • Once you’re in the hospital, your possibility of readmission increases significantly. Readmission occurs when you are discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then have to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes occur that lead to this readmission. In other instances, readmission may result from a new problem, or because the original issue wasn’t properly addressed.

Chances of readmission is increased

Why is readmission more likely for people who have untreated hearing loss? There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • When your doctors and nurses give you instructions you may not hear them very well because of your neglected hearing loss. You won’t be able to effectively do your physical therapy, for instance, if you fail to hear the guidelines from your physical therapist. This can lead to a longer recovery time while you’re in the hospital and also a longer recovery once you’re out.
  • If you can’t hear your recovery directions, you won’t know how to take care of yourself as you continue recovering at home. If you can’t hear the instructions (and particularly if you’re not aware that you aren’t hearing your instructions properly), you’re more likely to reinjure yourself.

For instance, let’s say you’ve recently had knee replacement surgery. Your surgeon may tell you not to shower for the next 3 weeks, but you hear 3 days instead. And you could find yourself back in the hospital with a serious infection.

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer might seem simple at first glance: just wear your hearing aids! Unfortunately, hearing loss often develops very gradually, and those with hearing loss may not always realize they are experiencing symptoms. 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 could lose them. It’s often a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. So the possibility of losing your hearing aid is absolutely present. You will be better able to stay engaged in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to deal with your hearing aid.

Tips for getting prepared 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. There are some easy things you can do:

  • Don’t forget your case. It’s very important to have a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better taken care of that way.
  • Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Keep your hearing aid charged and bring spares if necessary.
  • Urge your loved ones to advocate for you. You should always be advocating on your own behalf in a hospital setting.
  • 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.
  • Wear your hearing aids whenever you can, and when you aren’t using them, make sure to keep them in the case.

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

Hearing is a health issue

So perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your overall wellness as two totally different things. After all your overall health can be significantly affected by your hearing. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is the same as 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.