Helping Your Patients
Creating the Best Environment for Communication:
• Reduce the background noise whenever possible (turn off television, radio, etc.). Understand that some situations are more difficult than others, such as in the car, in background noise, etc.
• Face your patient directly.
• Get on their level. If they are sitting, have a seat. Stand when they stand.
• The intensity of your voice significantly decreases over a distance. Try to be within four feet or less of your patient. Refrain from talking with your head turned or looking down.
Things You Can Do:
• Get your patient’s attention before you speak.
• Speak in a normal fashion. Shouting distorts your speech, making it even more difficult to understand.
• Keep your hands away from your face while you are talking.
• If your patient is having difficulty understanding something you are saying, rephrase the sentence. Check to see that your patient understood. Ask them to repeat important info.
• Recognize that listening for someone with a hearing loss is hard work! They will have a harder time when they are tired or feeling ill.
Things to Understand About Hearing Technology:
• Hearing technology takes time and practice to become accustomed to. Your patient must work at learning to hear sounds again.
• Hearing technology does not restore hearing. Nothing can restore the damage that causes a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss. Today’s digital hearing devices greatly help in compensating for the hearing loss, but they do not totally restore one’s ability to hear and understand speech.
• Hearing technology is not indestructible. Hearing aids are tiny computes placed in a very hostile environment (the ear). It is common for hearing technology to fail if it is not cared for and cleaned regularly.