When You’re Hospitalized, Hearing Loss Can Lead to Complications

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 look forward to change as you age. His knee replacement means he will experience less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So Tom is admitted, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!

That’s when things take a turn.

Regrettably, 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. It’s getting less exciting for Tom by the minute. The nurses and doctors have come to the realization that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and instructions for recovery.

So here’s the thing: it’s not that Tom didn’t want to follow those recovery guidelines. Tom actually never even heard the instructions. Tom can feel a little better in the fact that he’s not by himself: there’s a strong link between hearing loss and hospital visits.

Hearing loss can contribute to more hospital visits

The typical drawbacks of hearing loss are something that most individuals are already familiar with: you grow more distant from your loved ones, you raise your risk of social solitude, and have an increased danger of getting dementia. But we’re finally starting 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 found that individuals with hearing loss have a 17% greater danger of needing a visit to the emergency room and a 44% increased risk of readmission later.

What’s the link?

This might be the situation for a couple of reasons.

  • Neglected hearing loss can negatively impact your situational awareness. If you aren’t aware of your surroundings, you might be more likely to get into a car accident or stub your toe. Obviously, you could wind up in the hospital because of this.
  • Your possibility of readmission considerably increases once you’re in the hospital. Readmission occurs when you are discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then need to go back to the hospital. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. Readmission can also occur because the initial issue wasn’t properly managed or even from a new issue.

Risk of readmission increases

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

  • If you have neglected hearing loss, you may not be able to hear the instructions that your doctors and nurses 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. This can lead to a longer recovery duration 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 nearly impossible if you don’t hear the instructions. You have an increased chance of reinjuring yourself if you don’t even know that you didn’t hear the instructions.

Let’s say, for instance, you’ve recently had surgery to replace your knee. 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 may seem straight-forward at first glimpse: you just need to wear your hearing aids! Sadly, in the early phases of hearing loss, it frequently goes undetected because of how slowly it advances. 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 trips are frequently really chaotic. Which means there’s a lot of potential of losing your hearing aids. Knowing how to deal with hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain engaged in your care.

Tips for preparing for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss

If you have 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. There are some easy things you can do:

  • In a hospital setting, always advocate for yourself and ask your family to advocate for you.
  • Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less chance there is for a miscommunication to occur.
  • Keep your eye on your battery’s charge. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.
  • Take your case with you. It’s really important to have a case for your hearing aids. They will be able to be better taken care of that way.
  • Use your hearing aids when you can, and when you aren’t wearing them, make sure to keep them in the case.

Communication with the hospital at every phase is the trick here. Be certain that you’re telling your nurses and doctors about 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 affect on your general 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 ability to avoid Tom’s fate is in your hands. The next time you find yourself in the hospital, be sure your hearing aids are nearby.

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.