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 get older. He will be able to move moving around more freely and will experience less pain with this knee replacement. So Tom goes in, the operation is a success, and Tom goes home!

That’s when things go wrong.

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. As the doctors and nurses try to figure out what took place, it becomes clear that Tom wasn’t following his recovery guidelines.

Tom didn’t purposely ignore the instructions. The problem is that he didn’t hear them. It turns out that there is a strong link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t by himself.

More hospital visits can be the consequence of hearing loss

The typical disadvantages of hearing loss are something that most people are already familiar with: you have the tendency to socially isolate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and family, and you increase your risk of developing cognitive decline. But there can be additional, less apparent disadvantages to hearing loss, too, some of which we’re just beginning to actually understand.

Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. People who suffer from neglected hearing loss have a higher danger of going to the emergency room by 17% and will be 44% more likely to have to be readmitted later on, according to one study.

What’s the connection?

There are a couple of reasons why this could be.

  • Once you’re in the hospital, your likelihood of readmission increases considerably. Readmission happens when you are discharged from the hospital, spend some time at home, and then have to go back to the hospital. Complications sometimes happen that lead to this readmission. Readmission can also occur because the initial issue wasn’t properly managed or even from a new problem.
  • Your situational awareness can be affected negatively by neglected hearing loss. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you might be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. Of course, you could wind up in the hospital due to this.

Increased chances of readmission

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

  • When your doctors and nurses give you guidelines you might not hear them very well because of your neglected hearing loss. You won’t be able to properly do your physical therapy, for example, if you fail to hear the guidelines from your physical therapist. Whether you’re still in the hospital or at home, your recovery duration could be greatly increased.
  • Taking care of yourself after you get home will be nearly impossible if you don’t hear the instructions. You have an increased 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 had knee replacement surgery. Maybe 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 severe infection (one that could land you back at the hospital).

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The solution might seem straight-forward at first glimpse: just use your hearing aids! Unfortunately, hearing loss usually develops very slowly, and individuals with hearing loss may not always realize they are feeling its effects. The solution here is to schedule a hearing test with us.

Even if you do have a set of hearing aids (and you should), there’s another complication: you could lose them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you have to go in for a hospital stay. Which means there’s lots of potential to lose your hearing aids. Knowing how to handle hearing aids during a hospital stay can help you remain involved in your care.

Tips for bringing your hearing aids with you during a hospital stay

Knowing how to get ready for a hospital stay when you have hearing loss can avert a lot of headaches (and other discomfort) in the future. Here are a few basic things you can do:

  • In a hospital setting, you should always advocate for yourself and ask your family to advocate for you.
  • Take your case with you. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. This will make them much easier to keep track of.
  • Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. Miscommunication will be less likely if they are well informed about your situation.
  • Wear your hearing aids when you can, and keep them in their case when you aren’t using them.
  • Be mindful of your battery power. Bring spares if you need them and charge your hearing aids when you can.

Communication with the hospital at every stage is the trick here. Your doctors and nurses need to be told about your hearing loss.

Hearing loss can cause health problems

So perhaps it’s time to stop thinking of hearing health and your general wellness as two totally different things. After all, your hearing can have a significant impact on your general health. In a lot of ways, hearing loss is no different than a broken arm, in that each of these health problems calls for prompt treatment in order to avoid possible complications.

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.

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.