You may be surprised to find out that one of the biggest complaints doctors have is that they struggle to have conversation with many of their patients. This is an alarming complaint and begs the question: how many of our patients experience this same problem with their own doctors?

With today’s busy schedules in doctors’ offices, many practitioners are in and out of the room before you know it. Often the brief visits include vital discussion or instruction and it’s necessary to be able to quickly understand what is being discussed. Medications might be prescribed, surgical procedures are scheduled, and pre-op tests are ordered. All of this can be done, with even the most considerate of doctors, in a matter of minutes. It’s essential to get the information correct. But oftentimes, patients are intimidated by their medical professionals, and don’t want it to appear that they didn’t understand what he or she said. This problem can be intensified for those who have hearing loss. Mistakenly, we can tend to act like we know what the doctor said and pretend to understand all of the instructions, only to leave the office feeling less than confident about what is really going to happen next. Misunderstanding your doctor can be unnerving – or, in some cases, even frightening, for the patient.

Here are a few simple steps that can prevent this from happening to you:

Take control of the situation. Slow the process down to a manageable speed so that you can digest the important information.

Tell the receptionist or nurse about your hearing loss and have them relay to the practitioner that you prefer to have information written down. Carry a pad and pen with you and be ready to jot down notes.

Ask your doctor to speak slowly and distinctly so you can better follow the conversation. Reminding him/her that this saves time by not having to repeat for you may actually help him/her to remember to do this.

Have a trusted friend or family member accompany you into the examination room, or ask if one of the doctor’s assistants can write down any pertinent instructions regarding medications, or off-site provider information, such as where to get an MRI or have a blood test taken. These few simple tactics can make a world of difference for your peace of mind – and your physician’s schedule.

These simple steps can reduce frustration and misunderstandings for all involved. You will get the information you need more accurately and with far less stress!

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