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Effective Communication Skills for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employee & Organizational Development Diversity Training Module
Effective Communication Skills for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Description: Technical Contact: Content Contact: Achieving patient-centered care requires effective communication between physicians and patients. Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing face considerable barriers to communicating with physicians. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete this course. If you have technical questions please contact the Service Desk at 414-647-0000 in Milwaukee or 1-800-889-0000. Employee & Organizational Development Training & Development Assistant North Market Region Created: December 2011
Instructions on how to navigate this course
Narrator audio is available (Please complete it at a computer with speakers, a headset or earbuds)
If you do not complete this course in one sitting, you may come back to complete it.
Deaf people may find it difficult to follow a conversation in noisy environments.
It may be appropriate to:
move to a different consultation room or quiet corner of a ward
Shutting doors and windows
Many hearing aids make it difficult to determine the direction of sound Example: A user may hear that someone has spoken but cannot determine who. This can cause embarrassment when responding to the wrong person. Back to previous page
Waiting for a consultation is one of the most stressful times for deaf people, and health professionals should not underestimate the emotional energy expended by a patient who is worried they are not going to hear their name called.
To make the area more accommodating:
Have chairs in a waiting room face the reception desk, patients who lip-read can more easily look up and see a health professional call their name.
give a pager to patients when they arrive that will vibrate when it is their turn.
dayroom televisions with subtitle facilities make television accessible
When entering a room, remember that the patient may not have heard the knock at the door; consider leaving the door open while the patient with hearing loss waits for the caregiver, or opening the door slowly and making eye contact before entering. These steps may help ensure the patient's readiness, sense of privacy, and comfort, as well as enhance his or her feeling welcome.
In the exam room, it is important to retain eye contact as much as possible so that the patient can clearly see when the caregiver intends to make physical contact.
If the caregiver wishes to talk to the patient while examining them then he or she must be clearly visible when speaking. It is often helpful to agree a method of communication before the examination starts. For example, say to the patient “during the examination, I will move around the room. If I need to speak to you I’ll touch your arm first.”