As someone who has had countless audiology appointments for decades, it hasn’t always been a smooth process.
While it’s easier to blame the audiologist and the entire department, it’s true that they have their parts to play. But we as patients can also do our bit to make the whole audiology experience a more seamless and effective.
After all, it takes two to tango…both the audiologist and the patient has to work together. In this post, I will be focusing more about the what patients can do and it is a follow-up to a previous post about what audiologists can do to improve their relationships with deaf patients.
For now, you can watch the video below:
…listen to the podcast…
…or read the transcript instead.
Like any patient and doctor relationship, it’s an important one, you want it to go smoothly, you want to make sure that the relationship is a healthy one and everyone gets what they want from it, which is the patient to be well looked after.
In a separate podcast and video, I’ve talked about:
- how audiologist can improve their relationship with patients
- how to make it a more smoother one, a more productive one
- how to make sure that the patients are looked after]
…all of these things, because I’m speaking from experience that they tend to be not so productive and not so smoothly.
But in that particular video and that particular podcast, I’ve mainly focused about what audiologist can do, how can they make it better? And I talk about them only.
But the thing is, I’ve mentioned that “it takes two to tango”; meaning that we also have to put in the effort as patients. We can’t expect audiologist to do everything.
It’s very easy to criticise the audiologist and the department as a whole in terms of what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong. Yes, I think there are certain things that they have to do and we kind of have to show them how to do it. Yeah, that’s going to happen.
But we also have to do our own bit. And in this particular video, I’m going to explain what we as patients can do to make sure we get the most out of our audiology appointment.
Don’t forget, I’ve got my own Patreon page where you can support this website if it’s making any difference to your life.
I’d really appreciate your support. It allows me to create the content, keep it going, to help as many people as possible and just make the world more deaf aware.
1. Try to visit the same audiologist over and over again
Let’s get straight into the first step, which is to try to see if you can visit the same audiologist over and over again, because then it will allow you to build that rapport with them, build that relationship with them and then you are getting more comfortable with them, maybe you can open up with them a bit more, and they’ll know your story.
I feel like that will make a better relationship. And hopefully the audiology department can do that because it can make a difference to both the doctor and the patient.
2. Open up and be vulnerable
Hopefully over time you’ll be able to be more comfortable with it because, number two is to then open up, share your struggles and be vulnerable.
I’ve talked in the other video about how I implore audiologists to listen deeply, listen really hard what we’re saying, and have empathy. Just have empathy about what we’re going through.
Hopefully when they get that message, then it allows us to just open up and talk about the struggles because it’s very hard for them to help you if you don’t share certain information.
So this would be a good chance to do that. So build up that rapport. If you trust them, you feel comfortable with them, share your struggles.
Just like with any doctor, we should be able to share our struggle with them so that they can best help us with the best way that they can, using their experience, using their knowledge on everything.
So do your best to open up.
3. Keep a record
Number three would be to keep a record. What I mean by that, if you’re going through a certain situation where you’re having struggles, or you have in a certain time, or you have an issue with your hearing aids or cochlear implants, keep a record of that. Make sure you record everything that you’re doing and make sure you are as detailed possible.
Maybe you want to include some dates and times when those happen, how often certain situations happen, because then when it comes to my next point. You want to come armed with information and fact to prevent the audiologist. They can’t help you if you don’t give them the information.
And the best way to do that is to keep a record of all of the information that they need so they can help you.
I am guilty of it. I’m guilty of saying that I have this problem, but then don’t really share enough information about what is it, how often does that happen?…I don’t get detailed enough.
Be as detailed as you want it to ask for it. Then they will be able to take it from you because you had that information there. So keep a record of everything and then arm yourself with the information when you are ready to go to the appointment.
4. Leave your anger and frustration at home
I admit that I am bad at this, but I am getting better; let’s all leave our anger, our frustration, our annoyance out of the audiology office.
It’s easy for us to get angry and vent them. And maybe sometimes you can do that depending on the conversation. But if you’re just always angry at the audiologist, then you’re not really helping the situation.
They’re going to get a bit nervous about you. They’re not going to be able to help you. They’re not going to be able to get your true situation, understand deeply what you’re going through.
Yes, there’s anger but sometimes if you are not thinking with your head, then you might give off the wrong information, the wrong vibe, it’s not going to help anyone, and especially if you have a negative attitude toward the audiologist.
That’s not going to help anyone, least of all you as a patient. You know, we are going to struggle if we are always negative to the audiologist. So that’s not going to work.
So let’s leave that at home so that when we go to the audiology department, we know we can. Therefore, we go in there with a cool head and we just know what we want to get out of it. But it’s not going to happen if you are angry.
5. Appreciate the audiologists’ knowledge, experience & skills
Next would be to respect and appreciate the audiologist knowledge and their experience and their skills. They have spent years and years and years of their time getting that level.
Even though we have lived the experience of deafness, even though we know more about these things, they know more about things that we don’t know in terms of the medical side of it, in terms of the biological side of it.
You can learn about it, but maybe not as deeply as the audiologist when they go to medical school and get that experience for many, many years, many decades. We can’t really match that.
So we have to appreciate that. We have to respect that. At the end of the day, we do need them just like they need us, you know, to keep them in the job. But we do need them for certain situations, not everything, just certain things, we do need them to help us with.
But we have to respect them for that. We do. I know it’s not easy thing to do if you have a bad experience or you are annoyed with them or you are annoyed about your own personal situation. But we still have to respect their experience, their skills, like any doctor and any of them.
6. Look after your technology
If you are like me and you get certain technologies to help you like hearing aids or cochlear implants, then look after it, because if you don’t look after it, well, then you’re not really helping the situation.
And if you’re not looking after it, then you’re disrespecting the amount of money that either you have spent or the government or whoever has spent money to allow you to get that piece of technology. Look after it!
We should really be careful with any technology, and you would do that with your mobile phone or you do that with your car. But if you don’t do that with those technologies, which are very expensive, well, then you are disrespecting the whole process, the whole situation, you not appreciating what you got.
And there are other people out there who would value that more than you possibly if you don’t appreciate it. Well, how is that going to help anyone. Look after the technology that you have been provided or you have bought, because they are there are there for a reason.
7. Share useful insights to help audiologists and others
Next up would be to share your thoughts and experiences with the audiologist if you feel like they could do with that tip. What I mean is if you have certain insights or certain experience or you’ve gone through a situation where the audiologist will benefit from it and they will be able to take that information and it will help them or it will help the other patients, share it with them.
Maybe you have found an app that is interesting and that it will help them to overcome maybe communication barrier and to help them in the future.
Or maybe you have gone through a specific situation in your life that then if you share it with your audiologist and another patient has said the same thing, then it will allow them to give a better service to everyone and then more and more people benefit from that.
So let’s share our experiences, our insights, our knowledge, because then it will not only help you and help them, but it could help the wider network of people who go through the appointment, the wider community who will go to the appointment, even maybe it goes up to the board, to the hospital level, maybe go to the executive and go across even more audiologists.
Wouldn’t that be awesome? I think it is. And technically, I would rather people are armed with that information and they are there to help all of us.
So share it. If you have any experiences inside knowledge, anything like that, and you think that it will benefit audiologist, tell them.
8. Listen to your audiologist
Next up would be to listen to your audiologist (no pun intended) whether your listening via oral speech or sign language…whatever. What I mean anyway, is listen to your audiologist.
It is easy for me to say, “no, they don’t know anything. They don’t understand what you’re going through”.
And yes, maybe there are situations where they will not get it, especially if they are mainstreamed, they are hearing and they will not understand your day-to-day life. I get that. Don’t even think about getting angry at me because I’m saying that…I know what you’re saying. I get frustrated with some audiologists because they don’t get it.
At the same time, we do have to listen to what they say. Maybe you’ll learn something from that. Because I know I have and I’m speaking from experience where I tend to reject what they’re saying, but I listen to other things or listen to certain things and it helped me.
It did help me because, as I said earlier, we should respect their experience and their knowledge and their dedication of how many years they have spent to study to be an audiologist.
So do your best to listen to them, even if it’s really hard to do that. Do your best.
9. Share both positive & negative feedback
And finally, if you do feel like you need to speak up and provide feedback, then do just that, maybe directly to your audiologist. Maybe you want to leave feedback to the whole department. Maybe there’s some kind of feedback form whether in-person or online.
If you have any information, whether positive or negative, share it with them. You know, maybe they can learn from that because it’s very easy for us to, for example, to complain or to demand changes or we’re not happy about a certain situation. But how are they going to know if we don’t say anything.
If we don’t say anything they’re just going to assume that everything is jolly, everything’s fine, and we will continue the same way we have been doing. But if we don’t say anything, then there won’t be any changes.
If you feel like there’s something wrong somewhere, share with them. Open up. Just share your feedback with them.
At the same time, let’s not just get all critical and negative, let’s share also something positive. So maybe, for example, you have attended an audiology appointment and the staff there that knows sign language and that really opened your mind because that is what you need and you’ve never come across that because, believe me, it’s not common, even though it should be common, you would think in the audiology department.
People are not always fluent in sign language, but maybe you came across one, you think it’s an amazing idea, you want to praise that person or that department, share that feedback because then it will give them an insight and make them think that “oh, if people are saying that, then maybe we should think about having more people to get trained up to learn sign language”.
The only way you can do that if we speak up and provide that feedback.
Like I said earlier, it’s a two-way street when it comes to any relationships, the same thing applies to come to the doctor-patient relationship. And in this situation I’m talking about, audiologist-patient relationship; it is a two-way street.
They can do something, we can do something, and we all can do something. We all have the responsibility to make the most out of that relationship. I cannot just say it’s only the audiologist responsibility.
Yes, I have my issues with them. Maybe I have complaints about them, but I have my own thing that I need to work on and they have their own thing. If we can both work on it, then that’s how it’s going to work. That how any relationship work…“it takes two to tango”, as the saying goes.
So let’s work on it ourself and let’s just hope that people will also listen to what I’m saying and your stories and your feedback. And hopefully then for future appointments, you’re going to have a much smoother experience.
I’d love to hear more comments from yourself. If you’re a patient and you have more tips and advice that you can share about how patient can make the most out of the audiology appointment, share it with me in the comment below. I would love to see them.
Likewise, if you are an audiologist and you have some stories or tips that you want to share, share with me. I would love to hear from you. I really would love to hear from audiologist experiences and how we can do things better, they can do things better because that’s the only way we can make it work, is if we all work on it, it’s not just one person. We all need to put in the effort.
I hope you found this video useful. If you have make sure you click ‘Like’ the video, if you find it useful. I’d really would appreciate it if you can do that. It helps to get the message out there helped. It would really me a lot.
In the meantime, I will speak to you again soon.
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- Deafness as a ‘hidden/invisible disability’ - October 6, 2021
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