According to the most recent statistics, roughly 260,000 people in Dallas have hearing loss. There are many associated health risks, ranging from isolation and loneliness to dementia and kidney disease. Another, lesser-known fact about hearing loss in Texas: patients with impaired hearing are more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after being discharged.
Hospitals & Hearing Loss
Few of us enjoy trips to the hospital, even if we’re simply visiting somebody else. Researchers from New York University have released a study that shows patients with hearing loss in Dallas have a higher likelihood of being readmitted shortly after discharge.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined 4,436 individuals aged 65 and older. All had been hospitalized at least once between 2010 and 2013. Of that group, 12 percent reported hearing difficulties that made communicating with medical staff a challenge.
The results were illuminating: those who had trouble communicating with doctors and medical staff, were 32 percent more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge compared to patients with normal hearing.
One of the study’s primary researchers, says,
“Attending to hearing loss is a strategy that hospitals really have not tried, and if they tried it they might be able to reduce the risk of readmission for (a) significant portion of their patients.”Jan Blustein | NYU Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service
The reasons for this surprising fact largely involve the difficulty hearing-impaired patients have in noisy environments such as hospitals. There’s a lot happening in hospitals most days and nights; doctors and nurses are scrambling around, machines are beeping, worried family members are asking questions and alarms are going off. All this background activity makes understanding speech a challenge, especially for people suffering from hearing loss.
A Hearing Aid a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
According to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, patients treating their hearing loss by using hearing aids are less likely to be hospitalized or visit the emergency room. Those who are hospitalized spend fewer nights overall in the hospital.
These results demonstrate clearly the importance of wearing hearing aids to treat hearing loss in Dallas and other cities in Texas. By educating the public on the prevalence of hearing loss, especially among older adults, it is likely the number of hospital readmissions will be reduced.
If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss, speak to your Dallas audiologist about hearing aids. The sooner you treat your hearing impairment, the less likely you are to experience negative health effects — and the likelier you are to avoid the hospital.