Communication is key in the world of nursing, but sometimes speaking to patients isn’t enough. Nurses around the world have to adapt and overcome obstacles on a daily basis, facing several challenges to ensure their patients are cared for the right way. One challenge for nurse practitioners is when it comes to caring for deaf patients, where good communication is much harder to achieve. So, just how do you care for patients who struggle to communicate due to loss of hearing?

Always Talk Directly to Your Patient

If you have studied using one of the online nurse practitioner programs Florida – you would have learned how to communicate effectively when it comes to dealing with patients who are deaf. It’s not all about being able to talk to one another clearly – it’s about showing your patient that you’re going to communicate with them and not one of their friends or family members. They could well bring relatives into the room with them to help with communication, but you should always talk directly to your patient and not their relative. It will help them feel more comfortable and it could make communication that little bit easier.

Normal Lip Movement is Key

A lot of deaf patients are the best at lip reading, so you will often find that communicating with them is just as easy as it is with everybody else. Simply using normal lip movement is the best way forward. Never mumble your words or look away while you are talking and you will find that normal lip movement will naturally take its course. Deaf people mostly struggle with speech as well due to not being able to hear themselves talk, so if communication is a bigger challenge, it could be worth talking to their relatives to find the best solution going forward. This can be achieved without seeming ignorant or like you would prefer to talk to their relatives. Simply acknowledge them and use hand movements so they can understand what’s going on while you’re looking for the best way to communicate with them.

Speak with a Normal Tone

A patient might not have complete hearing loss, they might just struggle to hear you or understand what you are trying to say on some occasions. In this case, the patient could have hearing aids to make communicating easier. However, it’s important that, just because they might not be able to hear you clearly, you always use a normal tone when speaking and that you don’t shout. This can make patients feel uncomfortable as hearing aids aren’t made for people to shout through – they are simply made to improve normal sounds.

A light bulb plugging itself in the electric socket.
If the lighting is too bright, turn it down a notch or too. If it’s too dark, open the blinds and take advantage of the natural light.

Check Noise and Lighting

As stated above, shouting at patients to try to communicate doesn’t work, so stepping back and talking naturally is the way forward. Noise and lighting play a big role in communicating with deaf people. If there are any background noises or something that’s vibrating in the room, they’re going to feel uncomfortable and they will struggle to understand what you’re saying. If the lighting is too bright, turn it down a notch or too. If it’s too dark, open the blinds and take advantage of the natural light. All patients are different when it comes to noise, vibrating and lighting, so it’s up to you to try to understand their needs so you can provide the best care.

Rephrase Your Words

Communicating in this situation would require you to undertake it by using simple phrases and words. There’s no point using longer words if you can use a few easier ones that are easier to read from lip movement. If you feel that a patient doesn’t quite understand your questions or answers, be patient and think about possibly rephrasing what you’ve just said so they have more chance of understanding your request. 

Write it Down

Deaf people are open and they understand their situation, and it’s time you do the same. If you’re not getting anywhere as far as communication goes, just write it down and get them to write back to you. They won’t be offended as this is an issue they have to deal with on a daily basis. Of course, if you can communicate from the start, there’s no point opting for this solution. 

Communicating with deaf people is sometimes a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be if you implement the right methods. The above tips are just some of the many you can take advantage of to ensure you’re always able to care for deaf patients just as well as you care for those who do not have hearing disabilities. 

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