As professionals, we have years of training and experience. We stay current at conferences, virtual classes, and read up on all the latest journals and articles related to hearing health. One of our most important requirements is to be able to untangle this heavy scientific jargon and relate it to a population who can be intimidated by that language. How can we, as professionals, make science, health, and technology accessible to such a broad group of people? I take the simple approach: Education.
When you have a lot of scientific articles published linking brain health and hearing loss, there may be moments when we are trying to explain concepts and your patients cognitive decline has already set in. Taking the time to show your patient things like models, pictures and hand drawn diagrams, and using simple language to break down complicated concepts makes the patient feel comfortable and helps them understand.
Having your patient bring a companion to accompany them, and help them break down all that information and absorb it with them is ideal. Using language that helps paint a relatable picture to show the science in an educational way is the ideal approach. If you can educate your patient, they tend to be more compliant with the treatment, and more open to the options. Education of the why’s and how’s of hearing loss and counseling on expectations ahead of time will put your patient at ease to ask questions and build trust in you.
With advertisements and articles and marketing campaigns using verbiage like DEMENTIA, AUDITORY DEPRIVATION, FALL RISKS and linking them to hearing loss, it’s often you find yourself with someone who is scared or nervous with hearing loss. Patients may not accept treatment if they don’t know how it works. They may also feel that you are trying to scare them into a purchase.
Taking just a few extra moments to demystify the scary words, or talk through like you are teaching them what we are doing helps to put the patients and their families at ease. Relaxed patients are happy and look forward to their visits with you, they open up more about medical issues and questions than you could ever get with a traditional case history because they trust you and your expertise. They recommend you to their friends and family because they know you care and you have empowered them to understand the importance of it.
My favorite quote by the famous French moralist and essayist, Joseph Joubert “To teach is to learn twice”. Taking the extra time to demystify what we do and teach your patients helps you grow in your practice and makes you a better professional.
-Nikki RoseRoyce: HIS