The Startling Connection Between Hearing Loss and Hospital Visits

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Hearing loss and reoccurring hospitalizations

Did you know that hearing loss could play a role in hospital readmission? According to recent research hearing loss could affect us more than we know, right down to whether or not we have to be readmitted to the hospital after a hospitalization.

Hearing loss links

You may know that hearing loss has been linked to a variety of other conditions and health concerns including anxiety, cognitive decline, depression, reduced social interaction and even a greater risk of falls. It is for these reasons, in addition to improving hearing communication ability, that hearing healthcare providers stress the importance of managing hearing loss with hearing aids.

Recent research indicates that there may be even more reason to manage hearing loss.

The findings

In research out of New York University (NYU) and published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers found that of the patients who were hospitalized and had difficulty communicating with medical personnel were 32% more likely to be readmitted within 30 days.  The team used the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, focusing on patients 65 years and older, to conduct the research.

“People with hearing loss often have difficulty understanding speech in noisy and stressful situations,” said Jan Blustein, MD, Ph.D., professor of health policy and medicine at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and senior author of the study.  “Hospitals are noisy, chaotic places, and people with hearing loss may have trouble understanding key information, such as what medicines they should take after discharge, or how they should watch for or manage exacerbation of their symptoms. This puts them at risk for difficulties after they are discharged from hospital.”

The team went on to suggest that simple and low-cost solutions to help facilitate communication between hearing impaired patients and hospital staff could go a long way in helping reduce the number of patient readmissions.

Manage to prevent

According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, in 2012, there were over 36 million hospital stays in the United States. These stays cost an average of $10,400 each. Preventing even a fraction of these hospitalizations could save countless time, stress and dollars.

It’s not just hospital readmissions that may be affected by hearing loss either. Another study found a connection between the use of hearing aids to manage hearing loss and emergency room visits. Specifically, those who used a hearing aid were less likely to have gone to an emergency room or spent time in the hospital within the past year, and those that were hospitalized and used hearing aids spent an average of half a day less in the hospital than those without hearing aids.

It’s hard to deny that unmanaged hearing loss may play a role in hospitalizations and readmissions.

If you have been diagnosed with hearing loss and are ready to take control of your hearing loss with hearing aids, contact our office to schedule an appointment. An investment in your hearing now could save you time and money and further damage to hearing down the road.


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