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Elderly Hearing Problems: How to Communicate with Your Doctor

NJ Senior Health

Life can become increasingly difficult for those seniors who suffer from a hearing problem.  This can be particularly distressing if it impinges on your communicating with your physician.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Bring an interpreter. If you prefer to have an interpreter, have a friend or relative accompany you. You should ask someone that you are comfortable with because your doctor may need to ask you personal questions.
  • Don’t be shy. You may feel awkward saying that you didn’t understand what was said. Sometimes you might pretend to hear something you didn’t. You may feel that it isn’t right to interrupt your doctor. But to get good medical care, make sure you fully understand what is being said, even if it means asking the doctor to repeat him or herself.
  • Ask for a well-lit room, without glare. It will also help if the room has curtains and carpets. Ask the doctor to speak clearly, to face you, to keep his or her mouth visible, and to repeat and rephrase as needed.
  • Ask for quiet. If you need a procedure or exam, complete your conversation in a quieter room before moving to the exam room.
  • Ask for details. If your doctor will be wearing a face mask for a procedure, ask to be told what you need to know ahead of time.
  • If your speech is difficult for others to understand, ask the doctor to be patient. Take your time. Feel free to write or type on a computer or other keyboard if you prefer.
  • If your doctor uses a word that you don’t know, ask for the word to be written down and explained clearly. If you need it, ask for a drawing or a model.
  • Don’t be afraid that you’re bothering the doctor with these questions. If it would help you, ask for written information about your condition, your medicines or your treatment choices.

Posted by: Frank Esposito, VP Expert Home Care.  New Jersey’s Expert Home Care provides professional, dependable home health care and companion care for NJ elderly, helping them with their daily living activities since 1984. Please call us toll free at 800-848-2336 when you have home care related questions or need assistance for a loved one. Get a Free Home Care Assessment (a $375 value!) when you mention this post.

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