Woman with doctor

When a physician or health care provider discusses information that is essential to your health and well-being, it is important not to miss a word. Learning of a new diagnosis and the steps for treatment and follow-up can create anxiety and stress. It can be difficult to comprehend and process all the new information. Now, imagine the same scenario when a hearing loss and masks are added to the picture. Muffled speech and missing cues from lip reading pose added challenges to those of us with less than perfect hearing.

If you or a loved one have a loss of hearing, here are some tips to help increase advocacy and allow for improved communication with physicians, staff, or any health care providers who are assisting you and your family.

  1. Ask the provider to maintain good eye contact and face you at all times when conversing.
  2. If they are talking too fast, ask them to slow down, and if necessary, speak a little louder.
  3. If at all possible, bring a companion to your appointment. An extra set of ears can always help to remember information that is important.
  4. Take notes. And if you have questions, write them down as you think of them.
  5. When it is difficult to follow a conversation, use a transcription app on your smartphone. The conversation can be saved and read at a later time.
  6. Bring an updated list of your current medications. In many instances, medication records have not been updated. A large percentage of emergency room visits are due to miscommunication with medications.
  7. Ask for a written summary after each visit.

Take charge and advocate for yourself. Getting it right the first time will make for better outcomes with your health. We want you to understand every word.