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Thank you for highlighting the health communication challenges that can be experienced by people with hearing loss, and the importance of training for health professionals to improve this. One of the things participants consistently told us during this project is that anyone can be vulnerable to experiencing poor health communication and participation, but individuals and groups with certain health or social characteristics may be more likely to experience this. The list of characteristics participants described was extensive, but not exhaustive, given it did not include people with hearing loss. We agree (and so did the participants in our study) that research into interventions aimed at improving health professionals’ (and health services’) health communication practices is the way forward so that everyone can participate in their care.
Although hearing loss is referred to in this study, it is mostly between-the-lines (as a disability?). Given the statistics, it is probably the condition that affects effective communication for more patients/caregivers than any other. It can have significant impacts on outcomes (like when my uncle heard "colostomy" instead of "colonoscopy", and refused the procedure for two days until someone thought to write it down for him). I have many other examples, and have given presentations to RNs in the clinical phase of their training. If you are interested in pursuing hearing loss in healthcare settings, I'd be happy to participate. One problem is that mis-hearings often go unnoticed, and so might be under-reported in a survey. Thanks for doing this; much-needed.
Kathi A. Mestayer
Staff Writer, Hearing Health Magazine
Advisory Board, Va Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Advisory Committee, Hearing Loss Association of America Greater Richmond Chapter
N-CHATT (Hearing Assistive Technology) Trainer, HLAA/Gallaudet