Having any sort of medical procedure performed is uncomfortable. We want to make sure nothing goes wrong. With a hearing loss, not understanding instructions can be a problem if not a disaster.
Not long ago I had a minor laser procedure performed on my eyes. If I didn’t hear the doctor correctly and moved while the laser was on, or about to be turned on, I could ruin my eyes. The thought of being blind and half-deaf, too, was not pleasant. Therefore, I reminded the doctor I was hearing impaired and would not be able to read her lips while staring at the glowing dot in the machine. I requested she tell me, in detail, what the procedure would entail, and the processes I needed to be aware of, to ensure I don’t move at the wrong time. Better yet, we agreed to a tap on the shoulder to alert me when changes were forthcoming in the procedure. The doctor did both for me; explained the procedure and process fully, and tapped me on the shoulder. The procedure went flawlessly.
On another occasion, my friend accompanied me while I was being fitted for contact lenses. She commented, after watching me respond perfectly to the doctor’s requests to “look right, look up, blink, look down…” when I could not see her lips. This was easy to explain. It didn’t go that smooth the first couple of times, I explained. The first few visits for the fitting, I had to pull away – often – in order to read her lips and respond to the instructions being given. Yet, after a couple of visits, the routine was clear and I could “hear” the requests without looking at the doctor.
We want the best outcome for ourselves, and others, when it comes to our physical well-being. Alerting the health-care professionals of a hearing loss, as well as discussing the “workarounds” before procedures or examinations begin, is good medicine for a successful and less stressful experience.