Hearing loss has a negative impact on all areas of one’s life. However, certain circumstances can be more stressful than others as a person who is losing their hearing capacities. For instance, a medical appointment with your GP or a specialist may leave you uninformed. Doctor’s handwriting doesn’t help much, so you have small chances of deciphering it, and sometimes, the continuously increasing load of patients that a doctor has to see in a single workday is far beyond the decent number. So, it is nobody’s fault that in many cases, individuals who struggle with hearing loss have a difficult time during and after a medical appointment. However, certain tips and tricks may help you manage more effectively these situations.
1. It all starts with making an appointment
We all know that receptionists that answer the phone at the doctor’s office have the habit of speaking fast and often mumble the words. So, as an individual that battles with hearing loss, you may face your first challenge even before meeting with your GP.
From the beginning, inform your receptionist that you have some trouble hearing and ask them to speak loud and clear. If you still have some trouble understanding what they say, don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat once again, you are in a special circumstance, and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for clarifications. Furthermore, ask the receptionist if they could write down your email address and send you a confirmation email with the date and hour of your appointment.
2. During your appointment
Since you have only a restricted amount of time that you can spend with your doctor, it is important to make it as productive as possible. At a hearing loss convention organized by the Hearing Loss Association of America, a CAP, or a Communication Action Plan, was proposed. This will provide your doctor or other medical staff members some information on how they should handle communication with you. It will provide them with important information regarding the type and severity of your hearing loss, how they should approach you when your time to enter the doctor’s office comes, and what type of amplifier they should provide, to make communication with your doctor more fluent and productive for both of you. Also, instruct your doctor and other medical staff members to speak loudly and always face you during your appointment. Generally, all medical practitioners should have access to the Guide for Effective Communication in Health Care for Patients, published by the same Association.
3. General tips for effective communication
Whenever you need to communicate with a medical representative, always inform them first about your hearing issue. Given the fact that they work in the field, they are very likely to be empathic and adapt to your needs. Communication is the key in your case, for an accurate medical outcome. Communication in the matter is important for both parties, and you shouldn’t expect your doctor to know this aspect about you unless you inform and remind them every time you meet them.
Hearing Loss Association of America http://www.hearingloss.org/ Accessed November 2017
Guide for Effective Communication in Health Care for Patients http://www.hearingloss.org/sites/default/files/docs/HC_Full_Guide.pdf Accessed November 2017
Communicating with People with Hearing Loss https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/communicating_with_people_with_hearing_loss/ Accessed November 2017