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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dead Battery at the Eye Doctor's

When I went to the eye doctor's this past week, I mentioned to the receptionist that I wanted my phone number changed in my record. I explained that I couldn't hear well on my home phone but I have a "special cell phone that I can hear better on". For brevity's sake I skipped going into a detailed explanation of the hearing aid compatibility aspects of my Verizon LG. (I doubt she was interested.) The receptionist made the change for me. You would think that request alone would raise a red flag that communication might be an issue for me. But no. The doctor's assistant who was sitting right next to the receptionist during that conversation led me to the examining room all the while talking to me with her back turned to me. When we got into the room, I said, "I don't hear too well and didn't hear anything you said while we were walking." Fortunately, that did the trick and she spoke up the rest of my time with her.

But then, in the middle of my eye exam, my left hearing aid battery died. Perfect timing. I'm in a darkened room, unable to lipread, trying to answer the doctor's questions about my vision. To make matters more awkward, I'm one of those polite people who just hate to interrupt when someone else is speaking! As soon as I could, I cleared my throat and said, "Ahem, would you mind if I just changed my battery?" The doctor being just as courteous as me said "Certainly" and moved his apparatus away from my face. Although at that point, he didn't know what battery I was talking about! He raised the lights for me and when he saw me remove my hearing aid, he said, "Oh, that's right. I forgot you wore those." Thankfully, he left it at that. I changed my battery and got on with my exam.

It did make me wonder though, how does a deaf person who relies on an interpreter to communicate with a doctor manage an eye examine? Does anyone have an experience they'd like to share?


grantlairdjr said...

No interpreter needed.

Paper and pen will do just fine.

Deb Ann and Hannah said...

Thank you for bringing it up. It's a very good one. I agree with Grant that we don't need an interpreter. We work out how we can communicate before we begin. Paper and pen works well and using our gestures while doing some exam in the darkened room. Eye doctors are amazing to find a way to communicate with me. Once I use the gestures, he used them as well.

I do the same with the dentists and doctors for office visits. I won’t require an interpreter because I know it’s so expensive unless it’s necessary when some cases are serious like when my daughter’s diagnosed with diabetes type one. Of course we require a professional interpreter because of the best education we can get for our daughter, Hannah. It’s probably more than a hundred an hour for covering the interpreter.

SpeakUp Librarian said...

Hi Grant,
Thanks for your response. I was wondering how being in the darkened room during the exam affected communication. Like when the doctor says "Is it better or worse?" as he changes lenses.

Thanks for your explanation, Deb Ann!!!

Anonymous said...

For better or for worse? We actually used thumb signals - up for better, down for worse... It's not so dark that I can't see that!

Has worked pretty well.

Now, I NEVER ask for an interpreter, but the local hospital here insists on getting me one every time, for every kind of doctor! Of course, my eye doctor is private and is not affiliated with the hospital.

Anonymous said...

Funny - when I read "dead battery at the eye doctor's" I was thinking - CAR BATTERY. Not hearing aid battery.

jelly said...

No intrepreter.
Pen, paper, gestures.

Works like a charm. ;-)

kim said...

You handled it all perfectly. It's the medical staff that need to be more aware. Sometimes I think my presence is a good reminder to them.

Danielle said...

No interpreters yet... I would make sure they would look at me. If not I would repeat Please FACE ME... I cannot hear you. You can also WEAR* which many of us do.. the PLEASE FACE ME button go to this site: THEY ARE FREE*

I also would make sure they would write down things for me on paper. I alwayS have paper and pen with me!! Gestures are also very important.

Your Dr. said " HE FORGOT". Well there is a STICKER that you could buy and to make sure u give to all your dr's to put in YOUR FOLDER... They MUST* ADD THIS TO your folder...

Scroll all the way down it will say STICKERS AND DECALS.

All the way to the Right will be the Hearing Impaired sticker that I use this is very Helpful!!!

Hope this helps


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. It's really helped me understand how others cope with this situation.
Thanks for the info, Danielle. I will check it out.
All the best,

Anonymous said...

hi sarah,i sent you an email,plz reply me

jelly said...

When I was at a deaf/hoh hearing convention not to long ago I got a bunch of those "please face me" buttons. I have one at work, and on my bag I carry. I believe you can order them like Danielle said, up to 5 for free.