Hearing Loss Patients at Higher Risk of Hospital Readmission

Hearing Loss Patients at Higher Risk of Hospital Readmission

In Hearing Loss by Hearing Technology Associates

Every year, World Hearing Day is observed on March 3rd, bringing attention to the importance of ear and hearing care for people around the globe. This year’s theme, “Ear and hearing care for all,” emphasizes the need for ear and hearing care to be integrated into primary healthcare, promoting early identification and intervention for hearing loss. The goal is to raise awareness and encourage people to take action towards better ear and hearing care.

For people with hearing loss, seeking medical care can be challenging due to communication barriers and a lack of appropriate accommodations. In hospitals, effective communication is crucial to ensure that patients receive the best care and treatment. Unfortunately, people with hearing loss often face difficulties communicating with healthcare providers, leading to a risk of poorer quality healthcare. As a hearing practice, we believe in the importance of promoting awareness of these challenges and providing support to those who need it.

Study Finds Communication Barriers in Hospitals

According to a recent study conducted by the Journal of Geriatric Studies, hospital patients with hearing loss who struggle to communicate with medical personnel face a higher risk of readmission within 30 days compared to those without hearing difficulties.

The study revealed that discharged patients who reported difficulties communicating with their doctors had a 32% greater likelihood of being readmitted to the hospital within the next month. Furthermore, approximately 12% of patients cited hearing difficulties as a hindrance in effectively communicating with medical staff.

Hospitals can be noisy and overwhelming environments, making it challenging for people with hearing loss to hear and understand what is being said. Background noise from machines, chatter from other patients and staff, and other distractions can interfere with communication and make it challenging to hear important information. Additionally, healthcare providers may not realize the challenges that people with hearing loss face and may not know how to communicate effectively with them.

Consequences of Poor Communication

The consequences of poor communication can be serious, leading to misunderstandings and misdiagnosis. Patients with hearing loss may miss crucial information about their diagnosis, treatment options, and medication instructions, which can lead to suboptimal outcomes. They may also have trouble communicating their own needs effectively, leading to misunderstandings and difficulties in getting the care they need.

Improving Communication and Accessibility

Fortunately, there are steps that hospitals can take to improve communication with patients who have hearing loss. These steps include:

Staff Training: Hospitals should ensure that their staff are trained in how to communicate effectively with people with hearing loss. This includes learning basic sign language, using clear and simple language, and speaking slowly and clearly.

Assistive Listening Devices: Hospitals can invest in assistive listening devices such as hearing aids or cochlear implants to help patients hear more clearly.

Closed Captioning and Sign Language Interpretation Services: Hospitals can provide closed captioning or sign language interpretation services for patients who need them.

Reducing Noise Levels: Hospitals can take steps to reduce noise levels and create a more calming environment for patients. This might include using sound-absorbing materials, reducing unnecessary alarms and announcements, and providing private rooms for patients who need them.

The Importance of Early Treatment

At our hearing practice, we believe that early treatment is crucial for people with hearing loss. The earlier that hearing loss is identified, the better the chances of successful treatment. We offer a range of services, including hearing tests, hearing aid fittings, and counseling, to help our patients achieve better ear and hearing care.

Our experienced team of audiologists and hearing care professionals is dedicated to providing personalized care and support to our patients. We understand the challenges that people with hearing loss face and strive to create a welcoming and supportive environment for our patients. Our goal is to help our patients achieve better hearing and a better quality of life.

If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us to discuss your options for better ear and hearing care. Our team is here to provide personalized care and support, helping you to achieve better hearing and a better quality of life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. Together, we can make a difference in your ear and hearing care journey.