June 18th, 2015
Naturally, doctors are here to serve our health and well being. Here I must disclose that I have an exceptional physician. Not just competent, but also communicative. Sometimes I wish that all doctors were like this because it is not always easy to communicate with one.
It already begins when I want to schedule an appointment. If the physician is not in my locality, then it means that I have to schedule the appointment over the phone. I do not like to use the phone much. This is because the chances of a miscommunication are much higher over the phone. Even my request for a written confirmation of the appointment is often rejected for the reason that “we never do it”, even when I explain my situation.
Then, when I show up for the appointment on time, I let them know at the check-in desk that I am hard of hearing. The check in desks are often deep, and the person behind it correspondingly far away from me which makes it harder to understand them. Often I try to find a seat as close and visible to the check-in as possible. Eventually a name is called that is similar to my own. If all goes well, then I get to see the physician. The room is often sterile and it echoes. This makes it a much greater effort to understand the physician. Because medical terms are often used it takes me longer to process and understand it all. Doctors have little time and less patience. For them to repeat themselves is a waste of time.
My eye doctor even started to talk to me in English once. He meant well, since he noticed that I did not perceive everything the first time and thought that English might be easier for me.
That in itself was no problem, I understand English, but it takes a bit of time to calibrate my hearing and brain to switch over to the “new” language. Since it was embarrassing for me to call him out on it, I decided to only answer him in German. At the next appointment, the same thing happened, but he has since slowly learned that he can just as well speak German, which he now does.
And then there is the Dentist and Dental Hygienist. When they wear their dental masks, it is impossible for me to lip read, and they are very chatty during the treatment/checkup. And I just lie there, barely able to nod, and to answer is barely possible. Fortunately, my dentist and dental hygienist are very understanding and will push down their face masks every so often.
With that they show that there are physicians who understand how it is to be hearing impaired!