How Those with Hearing Loss can Effectively Communicate with Hospital Care Workers During COVID-19
Practical Ways to Communicate
Have you considered how you would talk to doctors, nurses and staff members at the hospital? Your hospital visit, no matter what you are going in for, is going to be very different during this pandemic.
Under ordinary circumstances, hospitals are required to provide services that will guide the hard of hearing to understand what is being said and should ask what services you will need. This may include Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), an in-person sign language interpreter, lip-reading hand-held amplifying devices, written communication, caption devices or CART, or speech-to-text apps.
Due to the influx of patients who are visiting the hospitals, many hospitals have not been able to provide these accommodations. Many hospitals will not allow in-person interpreters, family members, or visitors to enter the building. You might be alone for a long time when you are in the hospital.
The majority of doctors and nurses at the hospitals are wearing face masks and gloves. They may speak to you from behind a window or curtain, so it may be harder to hear them or recognize facial cues.
Each person has a right to how they are cared for. Here’s what you need to know:
I AM DEAF/HARD OF HEARING/DEAFBLIND.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND YOU WITH YOUR MASK ON.
MY NAME IS ____________________________ .
HERE IS MY IDENTIFICATION CARD / DRIVER’S LICENSE.
PLEASE SPEAK INTO MY SMARTPHONE. I AM USING IT TO UNDERSTAND YOU.
PLEASE RESPECT MY LEGAL RIGHT TO UNDERSTAND YOU AND PARTICIPATE IN MY CARE BY ALLOWING ME TO USE THE SMARTPHONE.
IF MY SMARTPHONE IS NOT WORKING WELL OR AT ALL, PLEASE WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU ARE TELLING ME.
Here is a list of free apps:
Linguabee is offering free video interpreting for COVID-19 testing
Speech to Text
Ava (allows type back, translates many languages) (iOS, Android)
Google Live Transcribe (allows type back, translates many languages) (Android)
Microsoft Translator (allows type back, translates many languages) (iOS, Android, Windows)
Otter.ai (English only) (iOS, Android)
Webcaptioner (many languages) (universal web page)
Big Note (iOS, Android)
Cardzilla (iOS, Android)
Google Keep (iOS, Android)
Sorenson Buzz Cards (iOS, Android)
It may be best to have multiple captioned telephone (IP CTS) provider’s apps on your phone, in case there is a situation where your phone service provider experiences technical difficulties. Text-based relay services would be a good option to have if you cannot get a reliable internet connection.
Convo (iOS, Android)
Global (iOS, Android)
Purple (iOS, Android)
Sorenson (iOS, Android)
ZVRS (iOS, Android)
Other text-based options for phone calls
IP Relay (iOS, Android)
Mobile TTY or real-time text (RTT) calling 711 - Telecommunications Relay Service (iOs, some Android)
For the Deaf-blind
In addition to the tools that were previously listed, those who are deaf-blind, here are some apps that can display text in large type.
Apple Notes (built into iOS)
Make it Big (iOS)
Please be aware that data charges may apply to these apps.
Some communication apps function by audio recording what the speakers are saying and transmitting them to internet-based services for translation to text or sign-language. If the recordings have any private, sensitive medical information about the patient, please keep that in mind along with possible impacts it may have on privacy.
The FCC currently restricts the use of IP CTS when all parties to a call are in the same room. Parties must be in separate rooms to use IP CTS. Patients should follow all FCC rules and regulations.
If you, or a loved one, are experiencing hearing loss, please contact us at Pure Sound Hearing Aids to schedule a free hearing test and consultation.
Pure Sound services will only be available by appointment and for essential visits at this time. Essential visits include all appointments that require repairs, re-fittings, and new hearing aid fittings. If you are having any problems with your hearing aids, or need supplies for your hearing aids, please call us before visiting one of our offices.
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