Why do medical pros insist on leaving voicemails for HOH patients?

Posted by ltecato @ltecato, Aug 16, 2020

Leaving a voice message for a patient who is deaf or hard of hearing makes as much sense as using freeway billboards to convey information for people who are blind.

Why is it so hard for trained medical workers to grasp the concept that text messages or emails would work a great deal better for patients who are hard of hearing?

I was a professional student and worked on getting my MBA in Healthcare Admin despite my hearing loss. My professors knew I had a hearing loss and had hearing aids but were unable to provide any accommodations for me. This was the time when there was little available anyway. So I attempted to educate myself and them about what I needed and they helped me with my studies as much as they could. I finished my MBA in 3 years and was given the MBA Student of the Year Award. While that may have been wonderful, I was also given the opportunity to teach at the MBA level for a semester as well to get my feet wet with students. I did that while I was working full time and learning how to hear with hearing aids. I created power points to teach others about hearing loss and those who I interacted with. I became involved with the State HLAA organization as well as the local Chapter. I interacted with nursing friends that I knew and offered to give them insights into how to work with the deaf/hard of hearing world for one of the hospital system. It was well received. Remember – this is before the digitized technology we take for granted now a days. There was no fancy cell phones and assistive devices to go along with our devices for hearing accept for the "new" FM system that required many different pieces to make it work. Then with time we were given Bluetooth – streaming and highbred digitalized hearing aids with the iPhone that opened our world to better hearing for high prices if you could afford it all in the last 1

REPLY
@nurseheadakes

I was a professional student and worked on getting my MBA in Healthcare Admin despite my hearing loss. My professors knew I had a hearing loss and had hearing aids but were unable to provide any accommodations for me. This was the time when there was little available anyway. So I attempted to educate myself and them about what I needed and they helped me with my studies as much as they could. I finished my MBA in 3 years and was given the MBA Student of the Year Award. While that may have been wonderful, I was also given the opportunity to teach at the MBA level for a semester as well to get my feet wet with students. I did that while I was working full time and learning how to hear with hearing aids. I created power points to teach others about hearing loss and those who I interacted with. I became involved with the State HLAA organization as well as the local Chapter. I interacted with nursing friends that I knew and offered to give them insights into how to work with the deaf/hard of hearing world for one of the hospital system. It was well received. Remember – this is before the digitized technology we take for granted now a days. There was no fancy cell phones and assistive devices to go along with our devices for hearing accept for the "new" FM system that required many different pieces to make it work. Then with time we were given Bluetooth – streaming and highbred digitalized hearing aids with the iPhone that opened our world to better hearing for high prices if you could afford it all in the last 1

Jump to this post

Sorry….hit the button too fast… last 10 years….I was saying. Amazing really.

REPLY
@barbb

@terryflys4 Here's a concrete example of what I'm talking about in my prior reply. On April Fools day this year, when NYC was in the height of the pandemic here, I fell, went to the ER, diagnosis – fractured wrist. Surgeon did a procedure on my wrist and arm. I pulled out my cell phone to use the Otter app to understand what he was saying. He told me I couldn't do that. I said "why not?" He; "it is against hospital policy".. I said, then please step away and pull off your mask because I can't hear otherwise, which he did, and I was able to manage that. Days later, after recovering from the trauma of the fall, I consulted with Toni Iaccolucci of HLAA, she spoke with the hospital's "patient services" (I don't have the proper name of the Dept immediately handy) who said they would talk with the surgeon. This was important to me not only because of the advocacy needed in hospitals generally, but personally as I had to meet with him for follow up. Together Toni and I worked with that hospital department on getting the cooperation of the surgeon. Follow up app't with the surgeon was no problem. I was able to use my Cell with the app.

Jump to this post

Way to go! Those are the kind of results we want to have!! Thank you.

REPLY
@terryflys4

julieo4, you are so right about the denial. I ascribe a lot of that to the manufacturers, and advertising, always pushing invisibility. I’d put decorations on mine if it would make them more visible. In fact I think some young people are doing that

Jump to this post

Yes, the hearing aid manufacturers market denial.

REPLY
@nurseheadakes

I am a retired RN of 40 years. I remember all of the years of attending school back then and distinctly remember there was little taught about how to take care of any type of person with a disability. Our instructions were as Julie stated on the medical model of care for the usual disease processes which did not include deafness/hearing loss, any of the neurological diseases or brain diseases. When we had anything new such as the Flu/HIV-AIDS epidemics we had no textbooks for instructions but had to learn as we went from day one like with the COVID -19 is today. While hearing loss, deafness and neurological type of diseases that we are now familiar with weren't covered or discussed in depth we had little time or instructions on them.

I had hearing loss throughout my entire nursing education, never had hearing aids to help me, or anyone to help me with my studies. That was because I did not know I had a hearing loss all during those years. When I did finally have aids to help me – it was a shock to learn about and to see the world in a different perspective. The nursing profession at the time did not allow nurses to practice with any type of disability such as hearing loss or deafness since one can not assess their patients without the sensory capabilities. Faced with discrimination, isolation, rebuke and abandonment, I suddenly didn't belong to the nursing profession as they found me repulsive and inept. Patient care was difficult I agree because there were NO guidelines to follow in dealing with hearing loss, accept put a hearing aid in and work with it. That was it. NOW I was suddenly old and yet I was still young. Was that fair then?

With time I learned about SHHH and HLAA – met up with Julie and learned how to fend for myself. I spoke up because I did not like what I saw, felt and did within the profession. Still, today the nursing profession has a long way to go to learn about the many disabilities but in time will understand how to deal with all of us once they take care of us in the hospital settings. We have to be the teachers and owners of who we are and what we can do for ourselves. I have been doing that for some time and all of the doctors who care for me respect that and look forward to partnering with me to make sure I am well cared for. They take many of my tidbits and habits and incorporate them into their practices because they streamline their work and help to ease the communications between them and their patients. I am a partner with my doctors and nurses. I am NOT the enemy. That is why I continue to advocate for the things we need. Coming to the table equally.

I have our Clear Mask Campaign in this small hamlet in Sun City Center FL. We are a Senior Citizen community and plenty of deaf/hard of hearing people who use their facilities have been scared out of the wits by the pandemic. By sewing the clear windowed masks and offering them for FREE – the deaf/hard of hearing are coming out of their houses. This is one step to wellness. Keeping their aid/implants on their heads and being able to smile/read lips is the other. It makes the difference. I received two Grants for this campaign so that they can benefit. They can have one plus their caregiver can also have one. I have the hospital and hospices lining up. The retirement centers are also waiting in line. Grant moneys will be expanded if needed. With this mask campaign, I also educate them on the Hospital Kit that is available from HLAA and the proper way to wear and maintain mask care. My communication is by Next Door, Facebook and Zoom. I even visit their homes, I call them and they even come to my house. I make this easy so they are not afraid. We have snowbirds and home bound. They are all included because we are Florida and this is the SunShine state. And I just moved down here from WI one year ago.
So much for retirement!!!

Take heart. Be patient. Ask questions. Participate in anything where you can learn. Listen to your sixth sense because its right

Jump to this post

Love what you're doing down there dear friend! Wish you were still in Wisconsin! Fox Valley Chapter of HLAA is working to organize a similar program. Congrats on the success you've had in FL!!

REPLY

@ltecato
Hello and wow did you start a conversation about one of my favorite topics! So glad we got this going and I have read al the great posts here and the word for the day is Advocate.

I live in Florida and I'd like to tell you what I do with my medical providers. I get both email and text notifications about my appointments with my eye doctor who belongs to a large Clinic. I get text notifications with my ENT doctor My Audi personally emails me.

What I have done for years especially in a large Medical setting is bring an 8 by 10 sign with me that says patient hard of hearing ..may not hear name called…please bring this with you when you call my name. It's printed on red paper and my name is at the bottom. I ask them to put it on the front of the chart , if there is one, or just bring the notification with them. 90% of the time they do . The fact that it is on red paper is a visual clue that they're calling my name.

I've never had a provider tell me that I could not use my live transcribe app. I have been relying on this app since we are all wearing masks.

I used innocaption on my cell phone so any messages are visible of course. The same with my landline .

I've been told many times how impressed people are when I somewhat aggressively advocate and speak up. As my hearing loss got worse over the years the technology got better so I'm lucky in that respect.

I have come across my share of insensitive people especially in the medical profession. I'll never forget the first time I dressed down the son of a famous doctor who owns a string of eye clinics here in Florida. We were talking about cataract surgery. I initially told him about my hearing loss and to speak slowly. He was so fast I did not get half of what he said. I told him to sit right down and start all over again as I told him I could not understand him unless he spoke slowly. He did and look probably abashed. I was so angry.

Advocating gets easier each time you do it. This is such an invisible disability and I think I have educated a lot of people during the pandemic as I have to whip out my phone with the prelude …hold on a minute I can't hear you through the mask. Young people especially love it.

Keep pushing people! And shame on the hearing aid advertisers who market their hearing aids as so small and invisible no one will see them.

FL Mary

REPLY
@tonyinmi

@ltecato I agree that voice phone messages may not be the best means of communication. Fortunately, there is technology to help but ideally, the medical profession needs to be more aware of our needs. I suggest you talk this over with your "professional" and suggest text or email is your preferred method of communication. If they are insensitive to your needs, or don't want to bother with accommodations, then you need to find new "professionals". Nothing will change unless enough of us continue to advocate for ourselves. I've had similar problems while in the waiting room of an ENT office. I try to sit real close to the door where the "professional" comes out to tell you when you're next. They need to say "Appointment For…" before just blurting out a name. They also need to go out into the waiting area instead of just standing by that door. We need to let them know what we need. It's a constant battle.
Tony in Michigan

Jump to this post

Thanks for the reply. You recommend doctors’ offices train staff to call out patients’ names differently. That would probably help, but they could easily do more than that by providing some kind of visual cues. It could be simple as writing a name or number on a dry-erase board or chalkboard. Or they could have video screens where they flash text messages. Simple, cheap technology, not labor-intensive.

REPLY
@terryflys4

One of my pet peeves is lack of training, sensitivity, awareness by many medical professionals and those around them. After explaining to one hospital technician I had severe hearing loss and to please face me and speak very slowly and clearly. He did not. When I repeated the request he snapped at me that he WAS speaking clearly. I think in this case he was being racially defensive and instead of listening to my needs, took personal offense. A podiatrist, snapped at me “if you can’t hear, why don’t you wear hearing aids?” I was of course, and showed her. What offended me was instead of asking if I was wearing them she made an accusatory assumption . It is to be expected in the outside world, but totally unacceptable , even dangerous in a medical setting. I always inform them that hearing loss is a disability protected by the the ADA and explain what that means. As an older woman I refuse to be bullied, shamed or silenced and if we don’t speak up that is what happens. As Tony says, it is up to us to educate people. especially medical staff. It’s about sensitizing people and I suspect those I’ve talked to will think twice about repeating the behavior.

Jump to this post

“ I always inform them that hearing loss is a disability protected by the the ADA and explain what that means. “

Good. I have been filing complaints with the Department of Justice and was picketing outside local hospitals and government buildings before the virus hit. Occasionally I write my representatives and senators in Congress or the state legislature.

I’ve been dealing with this for 45 years and I am out of patience. We have been far too nice for far too long. The ADA should have cleared this up decades ago but…

REPLY
@ltecato

Thanks for the reply. You recommend doctors’ offices train staff to call out patients’ names differently. That would probably help, but they could easily do more than that by providing some kind of visual cues. It could be simple as writing a name or number on a dry-erase board or chalkboard. Or they could have video screens where they flash text messages. Simple, cheap technology, not labor-intensive.

Jump to this post

@ltecato, I agree with you. Doctor's need to do a better job accommodating people with hearing loss. Most seem to have large TV's in their offices but the captions are rarely on. The sound from the TV make it even more difficult to hear when your name is called. I'd prefer that the TV's were off. It blows my mind that these professionals think they are providing their patients a value added service. Scrolling displays are relatively cheap and simple to control. It would be nice to be able to see our name when its time. As was mentioned previously, we can suggest what could help, but it's up to them to move forward.
Tony in Michigan

REPLY
@joyces

The majority of medical providers take HIPA seriously. One of the things HIPA doesn't allow is communicating via e-mail. My primary is a friend and we use e-mail at times, but has told me to never, ever talk about anything medical via e-mail, not even to check on an appt. time that I only "think" I heard as a certain time and day. HIPA is also responsible for it being impossible to find out what's happening with someone close to you if they haven't filled out a form listing you as a person that can know. It's really frustrating when your spouse is being treated by a doc you don't know, a specialist that his regular specialist referred him to…and no one asked him to complete the form that would allow you to be told what's happening. Grrrr! It's all about confidentiality, although, for the life of me, I can't understand what's confidential about the date and time of your next appt.

When I visited a big metro-area hearing clinic that specializes in doing CIs, I quickly learned that no one there takes the trouble to face you while speaking and the nurse that comes out to, as Tony says, blurt out a name, stands in the doorway facing a room full of people who can't hear and mumbles a name. Sheesh! Wouldn't you think that a hearing clinic would be smarter than that?

Jump to this post

Leaving voicemail is not protecting the privacy of a deaf/HOH patient. When I get a voicemail, at least half the time I have to get another person to listen to it and repeat or rephrase it so I can understand.

So that means the message is not just between me and the medical provider — I have to bring a third party into the process. Luckily for me I have a wife who can fill that role, but some of us are widowed or just living alone.

REPLY
@barbb

@terryflys4 Aggravating experiences! But…would you consider doing a little advocacy and seeing about conferring with management of the places you were from the point of view of educating them about what is appropriate and exploring whether there is a possibility of better training for whoever?

Jump to this post

I have done one-person picketing in six cities in California, outside DMV offices, a courthouse. I also use my Twitter account sometimes. I posted this yesterday (warning, Tweet includes the F word).

REPLY
@tonyinmi

@ltecato, I agree with you. Doctor's need to do a better job accommodating people with hearing loss. Most seem to have large TV's in their offices but the captions are rarely on. The sound from the TV make it even more difficult to hear when your name is called. I'd prefer that the TV's were off. It blows my mind that these professionals think they are providing their patients a value added service. Scrolling displays are relatively cheap and simple to control. It would be nice to be able to see our name when its time. As was mentioned previously, we can suggest what could help, but it's up to them to move forward.
Tony in Michigan

Jump to this post

Absolutely!

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.