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Communication with Hearing Impaired Patients

A lot of endurance and persistence is required to deal with hearing impaired patients, make them understand the things or to identify with what they are trying to convey. It is the duty of certified nurse aides to handle such people patiently. There are two types of patients- one who are incapable of hearing and the others who can hear loud voices. A hearing aid is helpful in such cases where patients are capable of hearing loud voices.

Important Guidelines

A checklist of guidelines that must be followed by certified nursing assistants while handling hearing impaired patients:

    • Always enter the patient’s room from the front door or the side from where he can view the door easily. If you enter from behind they might get frightened.
    • The noise coming from the background/outside the room must be cut down to enhance your communication with the patient. The television/radio voice must be minimized and door of the patient’s room must be shut from inside to enable clear communication. As they are unable to hear you, you must never talk or communicate with them from a distance or from your back facing them. Ensure that they are able to see your face while you talk to them.
    • The patients who hear loud voices often use hearing aids. It is the duty of a nurse assistant to keep these hearing aids clean and within reach of the patients.
    • You must ensure that the volume of hearing aid is adjusted according to the convenience of the patient.
    • A hearing impaired person understands you better when you communicate with facial expressions and lip reading. In such cases, sign language proves to be very important, which is convenient for the patient. But, for that, both patient as well as nurse aide must be aware of it.
    • In case, a patient can hear loud voices; then it is important for you to speak loudly but clearly.
    • While speaking to the patients, you must construct simple sentences as they might not be able to understand tough medical terms.
  • Try to attend to one problem at a time. Do not discuss too many topics at the same time.
  • If the patient is trying to speak something which you are not able to understand, politely ask him/her to repeat again. Repeat what you understood, this will prevent any misinterpretations.
  • In case, there is some interpreter/translator who is helping you out in communicating with the patient, you must face the patient and talk, not to the interpreter.
  • If you think that the patient will be benefitted by the use of hearing aid, then arrange for them.
  • If you have to leave urgently for some work, then you must make patient understand this and ensure that the call button is within the reach of the patient.

Expert’s Tips

  • Find out whether the patient can hear loud voice or is incapable of hearing.
  • Provide hearing aid machine to patients who are capable of hearing loud voice.
  • Always face the patient and then talk verbally or with actions. Patient will get to understand lip movements.
  • Never shout or get irritated with the patient, always be calm and polite.
  • Always keep calling bell close to the patient so that he/she can call in times of emergency.