We’ve all had our issues with healthcare—from trying to read through your bill to understanding the instructions your doctor is telling you to navigating through automated phone trees finding someone who can answer your health questions. There are many frustrations that we as patients deal with. Now imagine you’re missing one of your five senses, such as hearing. All of a sudden, those challenges seem much bigger.
A recent study published in The Lancet medical journal suggests that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have worse healthcare and less access to health services. And it makes sense when you think about it.
- Hearing loss is not often a “visible” handicap so healthcare providers may not know their patients have it. Patients may not even know they have hearing loss!
- Even if patients do know they have hearing problems, most healthcare providers do not have training on how to effectively communicate with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Lastly, those frustrations we just talked about keep many of us from accessing healthcare the right way. People who cannot hear well may experience even more difficulties which could keep them from going to the doctor or asking the questions they need to have answered.
The effect on healthcare quality and access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing ...