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Practice What Your Patient is Thinking

“How can I help you hear?” The transforming power of six little words

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 18 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h184

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Re: “How can I help you hear?” The transforming power of six little words

Thank you for this article. It is great to hear from a person who remind us all of the problems associated with hearing loss. I am an academic whose job entails multiple meetings and constant interaction with colleagues. I have a significant hearing impairment and lip read extensively. Long ago I learnt to be proactive in managing meetings and interactions with people.

In meetings: I work out where the meeting's chairperson will be sitting, and try to position myself near them and in full view of all participants (hard with some table configurations). I always sit with my back to windows to prevent lipreading silouetted figures. If there are windows behind a speaker, I will adjust curtains or blinds before the meeting commences. My colleagues are all aware of the problem and I never have a problem with them helping me.

Clinical encounters are usually not troublesome because they are usually in quiet rooms. If a person with a tone of voice that is hard to pick up is the patient, I confess my problem and they nearly always comply.

So the key is self disclosure - for patients that would mean to reception staff and clinical staff.

Competing interests: No competing interests

28 February 2015
Geoffrey K Mitchell
Academic GP
University of Queensland
Salisbury Road, Ipswich, 4305, Australia