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Navigating the Hospital with Hearing Loss

Even a planned hospital visit is cause for worry whether we have hearing loss or not. Hearing loss can make communicating under stress even more difficult. Here are some tips to help you navigate the hospital better with hearing loss:

  • Talk to your doctor or surgeon before your scheduled surgery – ask about the policies they have in place about hearing aids including how long you will be able to wear the devices during the day of surgery. Ask your medical professional to place a note in your file so that other hospital staff will know about your hearing loss
  • Be your own advocate in the hospital - let your medical staff know when you can’t hear or understand. Be upfront about what changes they could make that would allow you to hear more clearly. It may also be a good idea to invite a trusted friend or relative who can act as an extra set of ears

Other tips to remember:

  • Pack your hearing aid supplies
  • Ask the nursing staff where to store your hearing aids – knowing where your hearing aids are when not in your ears can be a source of comfort when in a new place. Hospitals may have a recommended area or they may ask you to store them with your other personal items
  • Bring an extra set of batteries and/or your charging equipment depending on the type of hearing aids you have
  • When you arrive ask the nursing staff to confirm that there is a note in your file about your hearing loss
  • Talk to the nursing staff about what kind of information would be helpful to have in writing such as on the room whiteboard

A hospital stay is also a time to employ active listening strategies such as making sure you are positioned to see the person who is speaking. Focus and repeat what is being said or ask questions that will allow the person speaking with you to gauge your understanding.