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Medical Access

Medical Access

No one likes to go to the doctor! Doctors scare most of us; actually, it’s not the doctor as much as the possibility that he’ll find something wrong with us. So just visiting a doctor can be a stressful situation. For people with hearing loss, the stress is multiplied significantly.

The past 10 years have seen the culturally Deaf make significant strides in assuring their communication access in medical situations. There have been a number of recent lawsuits that found medial providers liable for refusing to provide interpreters as requested. But what if you need CART, or an Assistive Listening Device? Are medical providers required to provide those as well? That’s a legal question whose answer depends on the particulars of the situation, but they are required to provide reasonable accommodations.

If the answers aren’t easy, people are at least starting to study these situations. One effort to understand the issue is in the form of a Health and Human Services Study.

December 2000 – Representatives of Delmarva Foundation for Medical Care in Easton, Maryland and Gallaudet University in Washington, DC have recently drafted a set of recommendations for health care for people with hearing loss. Here is an article summarizing their thoughts.

May 2001 – The full text of the Delmarva Foundation recommendations is available here.

July 2003 – Here’s a wonderful essay by Bev Biderman on the problems of trying to lipread someone wearing a surgical mask.

September 2003 – Communications access in a hospital setting has long been a problem for people with hearing loss. Now a company called LifeLinks is offering a clever product that promises to solve that problem. Oh, yeah, and it earns money for the hospital, too. Here’s the information!

November 2003 – Hospitals seem to be especially difficult environments for people with hearing loss, because most of them seem to have little understanding of how to deal with a person with hearing loss. Here’s an article about a rare exception.

February 2004 – Hospitals are horrible places, and probably lots worse for those who don’t hear well. An organization called Hard of Hearing Advocates (HOHA) has put together an inexpensive hospital kit that improve the comfort of a hospital stay for a person with hearing loss.

April 2006 – Stethoscope Solutions for Hearing Aids

July 2008 – Helping your health care provider to hear you and vice versa

March 2009 – How to Manage Communication with a Hearing Loss During Your Hospital Stay

March 2009 – Hearing Loss Not Well Documented in Electronic Medical Records

April 2010 – Amplified Stethoscope Options for Professionals with Hearing Loss

February 2011 – See-Through Surgical Mask Eases Communications for Those with Hearing Loss

July 2011 – Nevada Medicaid Can’t Afford to Provide Cochlear Implants

July 2011 – Advisory Panel Examines Cochlear Implant Coverage


Stethoscope Solutions for Hearing Aids


April 2006


I am looking for a solution for BTE users who use stethoscopes. I have seen adaptors for the ear pieces for ITC and CIC users, so what is the best way to hook up a BTE user?


Thanks for this question. I would like to answer it from a broader perspective and talk about the various types of options available for persons who wear all styles of hearing aids, or even if the user does not wear hearing aids to begin with.  Full Story



See-Through Surgical Mask Eases Communications for Those with Hearing Loss

February 2011

Sam-Go Products has introduced a new see-through surgical mask and respirator mask that can help those with hearing loss communicate with their physicians. Many people with hearing loss rely on visual clues from the face and mouth to aid in understanding the speech of a clinician. However, traditional sterile surgical masks are opaque and prevent those with hearing loss from reading lips. The new Next-Gen Clear Surgical Mask from Sam-Go is a clear mask that will allow persons with hearing loss to communicate and understand dentists, surgeons and nurses through their facial clues and lip reading. The Next Gen Mask is reusable and reportedly has a life-expectancy of over a year. The mask is also designed with a filter that offers 240 hours of filtered air protection, which can subsequently be replaced.

SOURCE: Sam Go Products


Nevada Medicaid Can’t Afford to Provide Cochlear Implants

July 2011

What she prays for during each therapy session at the South Rancho Drive office of Hope Communication and Feeding Specialists is that her only child won’t have to rely just on sign language to communicate. “Dr. (Matthew) Ng says that with a cochlear implant she’d probably be able to learn to hear and talk,” Rosales said. “But now no hospitals in Las Vegas are doing the operations because Medicaid and insurance won’t pay enough for them. I pray my daughter doesn’t have to be deaf for life because of money.”  Full Story