Visiting or staying in hospital

You can get a useful Comunication Kit from Hearing Link’s shop that may help in hospital situations.

(See also Section 5 – doctors)

6.a. Explanations (Hospital)

1. I tell every member of staff who is working with me that I am hearing impaired. I give them brief instructions how to help me, eg please talk slower and louder and only talk to me when I can see you.

2. I try to make a joke of it to put them at their ease.

3. I wear several badges and I explain to everyone who comes to help me that they are there to show I am deaf. I find that it not only alerts them to my needs but also interests them and they often want to know more.

4. I only show my Communication Card to anyone who comes to help me, and I explain how they can help me.

5. I coped with the experience of undergoing major surgery some years ago simply by expressing my fears. I was terrified that I would not hear the surgeon and his team tell me what I was supposed to do because they would be wearing masks. As the nurse was preparing me for the operation, I mentioned my fears to her. She listened and said “Don’t worry”, but I did. However before going into the operating theatre I was in a side room. Suddenly a door opened and in came the surgeon and his team minus their masks. The surgeon said “Hello, we know all about you.” He then proceeded to tell me what was expected of me, which wasn’t much, but oh! I’m sure I went into that theatre with a smile and how I blessed the nurse for passing my worry on. The moral I find is that I’m now not afraid to express my fears.

6. Some people find it helpful to use a Language Service Professional.  Some hospitals will have them anyway, but if not, they should be able to arrange for one to be present if you need one. You will need to find out who is expected to pay. It is usually the service provider who pays, but not always, so best to check.

6.b. General (Hospital)

1. I wear a big smile and try to put them at their ease.

2. I take my aid and a lot of spare batteries.
 (One person reported that she had not taken spare batteries with her when she stayed in the chest ward of a hospital that happened to have an audiology clinic. She was there for two months and was unable to get hold of batteries throughout that time even though she could hear nothing without her hearing aid.)

3. If there is anything private I don’t want to be overheard, I ask to go into a small room.

4. If there is anything I do not want the ward to know about I ask them to write it down.

5. If they speak whilst looking down I ask them to look up and repeat.

6. I found my phone’s speech-to-text app a massive help, especially when I had to go in during Covid and everyone was wearing masks and we weren’t allowed any visitors who could have helped.