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 getting a new knee and he’s super pumped! Look, as you age, the types of things you look forward to change. His knee replacement means he will suffer from less pain and be able to get around a lot better. So the operation is successful and Tom heads home.

That’s when things go wrong.

Sadly, the healing process doesn’t go as it should. Tom ends up back in the hospital with an infection and will require another surgery. It’s becoming less thrilling for Tom by the minute. The doctors and nurses have come to the realization that Tom wasn’t adhering to their advice and instructions for recovery.

Tom didn’t purposely deviate from the instructions. The problem is that he never heard them. It just so happens that there is a strong link between hospital visits and hearing loss, so Tom isn’t alone.

More hospital visits can be the outcome of hearing loss

By now, you’re likely familiar with the common disadvantages of hearing loss: you have the tendency to socially separate yourself, causing you to become more removed from friends and loved ones, and you increase your danger of developing cognitive decline. But we’re finally starting to understand some of the less evident disadvantages to hearing loss.

Increased emergency room trips is one of those relationships that’s becoming more evident. People who suffer from untreated hearing loss have a greater 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.

Is there a link?

There are a couple of reasons why this might be.

  • Untreated hearing loss can negatively affect your situational awareness. If you’re not aware of your surroundings, you may be more likely to have a car accident or stub your toe. Obviously, you could end up in the hospital because of this.
  • Your possibility of readmission substantially increases once you’re in the hospital. But when you’re released and go home for a time but then have to go back to the hospital, readmission happens. Sometimes this takes place because a complication occurs. In other cases, readmission might result from a new problem, or because the initial issue wasn’t properly addressed.

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:

  • When your doctors and nurses give you guidelines 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 instructions from your physical therapist. This can lead to a longer recovery period while you’re in the hospital and also a longer recovery once you’re discharged.
  • Taking care of yourself after you get home will be practically impossible if you don’t hear the guidelines. You have an increased likelihood of reinjuring yourself if you’re not even aware that you didn’t hear the instructions.

Let’s say, for example, you’ve recently undergone surgery to replace your knee. Perhaps you’re not supposed to shower for three weeks but you thought your doctor said three days. And you might find yourself back in the hospital with a severe infection.

Keeping track of your hearing aids

The answer might seem straight-forward at first glimpse: you just need to use your hearing aids! Unfortunately, hearing loss often advances very gradually, and people with hearing loss might not always recognize they are feeling its effects. Coming in to see us for a hearing exam is the solution here.

Even after you’ve taken the steps and invested in a set of hearing aids, there’s still the possibility of losing them. It’s frequently a chaotic scene when you need to go in for a hospital stay. Which means there’s a lot of potential to lose your hearing aids. You will be better able to stay involved in your care when you’re in the hospital if you know how to handle your hearing aid.

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

If you’re dealing with hearing loss and you’re going in for a hospital stay, a lot of the headaches and discomfort can be avoided by knowing how to get yourself ready. There are some simple things you can do:

  • 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. Having a case for your hearing aid is very important. This will make them much easier to keep track of.
  • Wear your hearing aids when you can, and keep them in their case when you aren’t wearing them.
  • In a hospital environment, always advocate for yourself and ask your loved ones to advocate for you.
  • Communicate to hospital staff about your hearing loss. The more informed you are about your hearing loss, the less likelihood there is for a miscommunication to occur.

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

Hearing loss can cause health problems

It’s important to recognize that your hearing health and your overall health are closely related. After all, your hearing can have a considerable impact on your general health. Hearing loss is like any other health issue in that it needs to be treated as soon as possible.

You don’t have to be like Tom. Keep your hearing aids close the next time you need 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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