How do you prepare for a hospital stay when you have a hearing loss?

Going to the hospital can be a stressful experience, especially with a hearing loss. Do you feel prepared to conquer the challenges of going to the hospital with a hearing loss? Here are some tips to make your time at the hospital about you and not your hearing loss. 

It is critical to come up with a plan before a scheduled or unexpected trip to the hospital. How will you advise your doctors, nurses, and other people on the medical team of your hearing loss? How will you charge your hearing aids? What happens if you forget your hearing aids? 

A hospital is a poor environment for communication because of intercom announcements, machines, and many people talking. With all the background noise it can be challenging to effectively communicate with your healthcare team. Because of this, it is best to ask your healthcare team to be mindful of your hearing loss and ensure they are making an effort to communicate the information you need. 

Strategies to overcome your hearing loss in the hospital: 

  • Creating a sign to sit beside you or near the end of your hospital bed. This sign should indicate that you have a hearing loss with a list of communication strategies: making sure that you are awake when information is being shared, speaking clearly, and other strategies you prefer. 
  • It can be beneficial to ask your healthcare team to use an assistive listening device when communicating health information to you. Using an assistive listening device can also help overcome communication difficulties now that healthcare providers must wear masks.
  • Bring an extra pack of batteries or your charging case for your hearing aids. If you have the opportunity to use your hearing aids you should use them so you can communicate with your healthcare team. Don’t let a dead battery get in the way of your health. 
  • If you cannot use your hearing aids or do not have them, use a pen and paper to get and give clear information. 
  • Understand your rights for effective communication. Your healthcare providers want and are required to give you the resources you need to receive the best service from them. If you require an interpreter, make sure one is provided for you.