No one wants to spend time in a hospital, but sometimes medical emergencies come up and you need to seek immediate help. These stays can be stressful and frightening. Staying in the hospital when you have hearing loss can add more stress to an already difficult time in your life. Unfortunately, people with hearing loss are more likely to stay in the hospital.
A 2019 study examined hospital data of patients with untreated hearing loss and those with normal hearing over a 10-year period. They found that people with untreated hearing loss had a greater risk of emergency room visits and were more likely to be readmitted after their initial visit. They also averaged longer stays than patients without hearing loss.
Let’s look at a few steps you can take to make hospital stays easier if you have hearing loss.
Tell Your Doctors About Hearing Loss
Not just doctors, but also nurses, medical assistants and any other staff you come across during your stay in the hospital. Hospitals are often busy and fast-paced. Medical staff are working hard to help people as best they can, but they can’t help what they don’t know. It’s possible not everyone you interact with will know you have hearing loss. This can make communication difficult.
Communication is essential during a hospital stay. Your medical providers may need to ask you questions about previous health conditions, medications you’ve taken, or allergies you might have. They also will need to explain aspects of your current treatment with you. These are not times to misunderstand or not be able to hear what is being said. If you tell your medical providers you have hearing loss, they can work to ensure you understand what is being said. They can also put a note in your chart or leave a sign on the door of your room letting others know as well so that they know how to communicate with you.
Other Tips for Staying in the Hospital with Hearing Loss
- Download a transcription app. This lets you record what is being said and go over it again later to avoid confusion.
- If apps aren’t your thing, carry a notebook and pen around to help you communicate in emergencies.
- If possible, have a loved one with you in the hospital so that they can hear what is being said and help you make decisions.
- If you decide to bring your hearing aids with you to the hospital, bring something to store them in.
- Try to stay calm and comfortable. This is difficult to do in a hospital. However, stress and anxiety can negatively impact your hearing. See if a loved one can pick up your favorite pajamas or stop by The Novel Neighbor and get you a new book to read.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call the Center for Hearing & Speech today.