Hi, I am new to this board and I did some searching for deaf nurses and wasn't able to find anything on it. I'm totally deaf but have good vocal skills since I had better hearing as a child. People can't tell I am deaf since I speak so clearly. They usually think I am joking or lying when I tell them I am deaf and I have to show them my cochlear implant in order to convince them. But my question is what do nurses do with the call button and all of that in regards to the patient if the nurse is deaf? I function very well with my cochlear implant but still do not function well enough to use a regular phone so I doubt I would be able to understand a patient over the call system. I am really trying to work on my phone skills so that if I have this problem that it might help but I am still a little doubtful. Any solutions would really be helpful or suggestions even. Sorry this is so long, I am just anxious about being the best nurse I can be and I am not even started in school yet lol. Thanks in advance!
Feb 1, '05
Most units have a unit secretary who would field the call light requests of patients (usually it is just - go check on the patient in XYZ). I did not even know how to answer a call light from the desk at one of my previous jobs - too many buttons on that darned thing! :chuckle (by the way, that was an adult ICU - babies tend not to use call lights)
This is something that is easily worked out on the unit - as long as you can understand your patients when you are speaking to them, I wouldn't give it another thought.
Welcome to the board and good luck to you in your nursing career.
Feb 1, '05
Good for you! You sound very much like my daughter who didn't lose the bulk of her hearing until after she'd acquired excellent language skills. She talks constantly! And no one knows she has a severe-profound loss.
Re: call lights -- another thing to consider: you could just go into the pt room instead of getting on the call system and trying to hear. My hearing is fine but I don't even bother answering the call system because I still can't understand the pt over the system....I just go in the room.
Re: the phone -- I'm not totally familiar with CIs. Do they have a T-coil similar to aids for use when on the phone? I'd highly recommend calling your state's commission for the deaf/HoH and talk to them. These people are experts in helping with telecommunications and equipment.
Check out this website: http://www.listen-up.org/
The creator lives in Texas (as it appears you do) and provides tons of info as well as a message list you can subscribe to. It could be a great resource for getting info specific to your state.
Feb 1, '05
Welcome to allnurses ... and welcome to nursing. I'm afraid I don't have specific advice to offer regarding your question, but wanted to be sure to say "hello" to you.
I have normal hearing in my one ear, but am totally deaf in the other. Over the years, I have worked with several nurses with hearing issues. Unfortunately, the health care world does not have history of being very welcoming to people with any sort of disability. However, I think the situation is improving .... and hopefullly, you and your generation of nurses will be the benefiaries of that cultural change.
Take care ... and good luck,
Feb 1, '05
PJMommy, yes cochlear implants have a t-coil it may not be called that like hearing aids but it does have a connection to connect to the phone to further assist hearing on the phone. I haven't been able to use it because my family does not sign or anything and they don't have the patience to call me and try to work with me improving my phone skills. My mom signs and is an interpreter but it's just easier to email me or something or just come over since she lives close by. So needless to say, I don't get phone calls. I rely on email mainly or my husband to make a call and I hate doing that even. Thanks everybody for your advice. I was thinking the same thing that I would probably just have to go in the patients room. I had heard that some nurses even though their hearing is perfectly fine they still have a hard time understanding the patient thru the call system. LOL
that makes me feel soo much better!
Feb 1, '05
when I worked in LTC, we never used the call system to talk to the pts, or residents because most of them didn't talk, even if they could still ring the call bell. We would just go to their room. And even if they could talk, you could never understand them anyway. The volume was never enough that you could hear. We mainly used the call system to hunt down nurses, and CNAs that were hiding from work.
Feb 1, '05
Hello blondebritbrat (cute name btw),
Welcome to the board, too! I'm not a nurse (caregiver) but I'm mostly deaf as well (mom had German measles when pregnant). Having a CI wouldn't work in my case so far as I know, I wear a hearing aid in my left ear (right ear's totally dead), and it took me a long time to use a telephone OK, even now its still a real problem if the volume's weak or connection's bad. Thank God for cell phones - they've really come a long ways. I used the telephone setting on the hearing aid for years, and while it worked well enough after a fashion, I found out that a phone with good, loud volume worked even better with the hearing aid on its regular setting. Background noise is a big problem for me. Like llg said, the workplace isn't a very friendly environment for disabled folks in general.
PS: Now if they could only do something about those AWFUL tinny/scratchy sounding intercoms at fast food drive-thrus!
Feb 1, '05
The Jan 05 RN Journal has an uplifting article on nurses with disabilities with several references about hearing impairment.
Mentions the National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities (NOND, 847-583-8569.)
Also, Global Organization of Feminists with Disabilities (703-309-8601)
Feb 3, '05
Thanks everybody for the posts and encouragement! Tom, LOL I know what you mean by those horrible drive thru intercoms. I have to go in and order but sometimes I just go thru the drive thru if I am in a hurry or don't want to go inside. I can use a cell phone if it has good reception and if the volume is turned all the way up and no BACKGROUND noise. You think I am gonna find a place in this world with no background noise? YEAH RIGHT! but I use it so little and nobody ever calls me, why bother with all the stupid fees and having one extra bill! Oh well we people that have hearing problems gotta find what works for us!
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