When a physician or a health care professional provides information that is fundamental to a patient’s wellbeing, every word is valuable. Conversations about a new diagnosis, treatments, even follow-ups can already be stressful, and it may prove to be even more difficult for the patient to comprehend all of the new information if hearing loss is a factor.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth sessions are becoming more prevalent and a convenient way to receive services from the privacy of your own home. This is also a great way to communicate with your doctor without having to wear a mask and miss information due to a face covering. However, video technology can still become a challenge for someone with hearing loss. 

Here are 5 tips to help you improve critical communication during remote sessions:

  1. Use a standard computer rather than your phone to have a telehealth session. Using a computer allows you to enlarge your screen and get better visual cues. 
  2. If you choose to use a mobile device to communicate, add captions to your conversation. InnoCaption is a transcription app that will allow you to capture the conversation through text. This app is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.  
  3. Never be afraid to ask your healthcare provider to look directly at the camera when speaking to you, not to cover his/her mouth, and speak towards the microphone. If your healthcare provider is talking too fast, ask him/her to slow down. Once you establish your needs early in the session, you will be able to have a much easier and clearer conversation. 
  4. If you do not wear hearing aids, use headphones during your telehealth session and connect them directly to the source. By bringing the sound closer to your ears, this will allow you to have a better chance of catching all the words in the conversation. If you do wear hearing aids, try to stream the sound directly to the hearing aids wirelessly. This can be accomplished on Apple or Android devices. 
  5. If possible, have a companion with you during your session. An extra set of ears can always help you to remember information that is important. Sometimes it can be difficult to process new information quickly. Having another person present can help you fill the gaps on any missing information. 

It’s time to advocate for yourself and getting it right the first time will help you make wise decisions for better outcomes with your health.

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