Any hearing-impaired nurses out there? Need advice.

  1. Hi there,

    I am starting my nursing school journey shortly. I am somewhat hearing impaired, I believe the hearing in my left ear is normal, but due to a facial birth defect involving my jaw & cheek bones and my ear & ear canal on the right side of my face, I only have slight hearing in my right ear.
    I do not currently wear a hearing aid, have not since about 1st grade. I'm sure if I got evaluated I'd get one - but is it even possible to wear a hearing aid and still use a stethescope?
    There has got to be some nurses out there that are somewhat hearing impaired, right? Just wondering what a good solution would be....any advice?

    Blessings,
    Stephanie
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   chicoborja
    "is it even possible to wear a hearing aid and still use a stethescope? "

    yes it is...there are stethoscopes available that are hearing aid compatible. You'd be better off utilizing the hearing you have rather than coping w/o the aid. I believe there's even a support group for health professionals w/ hearing losses although I cant recall the name of the group. Just search the net a little. Good Luck!
  4. by   NurseyBaby'05
    You also may want to try the stethoscope w/o a hearing aid. One of my clinical instructors was able to use the stethoscope better without his hearing aids than with them. I'm not sure about exact percentage of his hearing loss, but I know it was up there. I would definately go Littman though. Speak to your PCP or, if your school has supportive services, I would speak to them too. Let me know what winds up working for you. I'm kind of curious.

    P. S. I think he said something about having less problems with feedback without the hearing aids, but again, I'm not sure about the specs on his hearing loss or on his hearing aids.
    Last edit by NurseyBaby'05 on Jul 10, '04 : Reason: Forgot something
  5. by   zacarias
    Stephanie,

    By any chance do you have hemifacial microsomia/Goldensar's? My name is Zach and I'm a 26 y/o nurse in the Seattle area with what you have it sounds like. I can't hear out of my left ear but my right ear is fine.
    I use a general Littmann stethoscope and have no problems hearing things. If you have normal hearing in one ear, you should not have any problem. Yes there are expensive stethoscopes (I've never used one) that can amplify sounds but I would first try a regular good quality stethoscope from $30 to $60. Then for a graduation present down the road, you might think about an amplified stethoscope although it's not a necessity.
    Please know that you having hearing out of only one ear should put no hindrance on your nursing career.

    Quote from kynurse2be
    Hi there,

    I am starting my nursing school journey shortly. I am somewhat hearing impaired, I believe the hearing in my left ear is normal, but due to a facial birth defect involving my jaw & cheek bones and my ear & ear canal on the right side of my face, I only have slight hearing in my right ear.
    I do not currently wear a hearing aid, have not since about 1st grade. I'm sure if I got evaluated I'd get one - but is it even possible to wear a hearing aid and still use a stethescope?
    There has got to be some nurses out there that are somewhat hearing impaired, right? Just wondering what a good solution would be....any advice?

    Blessings,
    Stephanie
  6. by   NannaNurse
    Hi, I'm hearing impraired from birth. Born 10wks premature and spent the first 8 weeks in an incubator. Anyway, my right ear is shot and the left one is about 60/40. Hearing aids drive me nuts, so I don't wear them. I also have a Litthman Cardiology II and do just fine with it. They also make them with volume control.
    I started reading lips as a young child. Was always told that I would lose all of my hearing by the age of 25-30. I'm happy to say that I'm now 44 and still have the ability to hear......although it's somewhat limited, I do just fine.
    Work is usually no problem. All of my coworkers know that I'm HOH and most are supportive. Some of them tease me and I just let it 'slide off'. I know when and where to draw the line and I've told them. Discrimination is wrong and against the law and I make sure they know that I know.
    Most phones have volume control so that helps too.
    I wish you all the best and don't worry. I'm sure that you'll do just fine!!
  7. by   kynurse2be
    Hi Zach,
    YES! I have hemifacial microsomia! I've never met anyone else with this...so nice to "meet" you.
    Thanks for responding, everyone was very helpful and put my mind at ease.

    Blessings,
    Stephanie


    Quote from zacarias
    Stephanie,

    By any chance do you have hemifacial microsomia/Goldensar's? My name is Zach and I'm a 26 y/o nurse in the Seattle area with what you have it sounds like. I can't hear out of my left ear but my right ear is fine.
    I use a general Littmann stethoscope and have no problems hearing things. If you have normal hearing in one ear, you should not have any problem. Yes there are expensive stethoscopes (I've never used one) that can amplify sounds but I would first try a regular good quality stethoscope from $30 to $60. Then for a graduation present down the road, you might think about an amplified stethoscope although it's not a necessity.
    Please know that you having hearing out of only one ear should put no hindrance on your nursing career.
  8. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I have 50% hearing in my right ear, mainly it's low pitch osounds that i have problems with in that ear. Antibiotics and ear infections caused this.

    I hear perfectly out of my left ear, and i mainly rely on it for the stethoscope. There are devices (stethoscope) for those who wear bilateral hearing aids. I just don't know of any brands right offhand.
  9. by   karenG
    one of my NP 'heros' is deaf. she lip reads and cant use a stethascope. she manages very well and until recently didnt listen to chests........no point!! her GP's have bought her an all singing/dancing stethascope that shows the sounds on the computer! so she now has no excuse! oh- she has been nurse 35yrs now and was one of the first NP's to qualify in this country.

    Karen
  10. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I have hearing loss in the higher ranges. I broke down and went into see an audiologist when I realized that the tinnitus that had developed was keeping me from doing BPs properly or taking complete HXs from missing little things. The audiologist put me through a complete set of tests and we discussed my results by looking at a graph and discussing some anatomy.

    I've since purchased the best hearing aid I could get because I'm afraid to miss something. A slight decrease in reasonance, a wheeze, missing a vital item in a medical HX, a patient's faint raspy voice asking for something when they need me most.

    The only thing I my audiologist knows about using hearing aids with a stethescope is to make a mold of my ear with the aids in them. This would prevent the feedback problem from getting something too close to the microphone. I'm going next week to get fitted for that before EMT classes.

    If anybody has any links to a company that specializes in a better product I'm all ears!

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