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CRNA - Hearing Issues

CRNA   (2,489 Views 4 Comments)
by SirJohnny SirJohnny (Member)

SirJohnny has 8 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

7,552 Visitors; 394 Posts



- Am wondering if any of the CRNA's out there have hearing issues, and what they did to overcome

their hearing loss while in the surgical suite.

- I am deaf in one ear, and when I did my surgical suite observation (during nursing school), I could

not understand the surgeon. He had asked me to answer his cell phone during the operation. I

actually had to leave the suite to hear the person on the other end. When I re-entered the suite, the

surgeon started to ask me some questions about the phone call, but I could not understand the

surgeon. Fortunately, the charge nurse took over and was able to answer the surgeon's questions.

- The problem is two-fold. First, I obviously can't read lips in the surgical suite (due to everyone wearing

masks). Second, is the background noise. It's like trying to hear a person while you are in a bar or


- Again, just wondering if there were CRNA's out there who have experienced the same problem, and

what their solution(s) were to overcome this difficulty.

Thanks in advance.

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1 Follower; 12,693 Visitors; 687 Posts

I worked with someone with a hearing loss, and it is an issue. She had to let everyone know she had a hearing issue, she had to visually watch the monitors more, had to stand facing the surgeon and the surgeon would have to speak more directly to her. Sometimes the circulator would need to assist with communication for her and background noise such as music had to be eliminated. She is now working in a small surgicenter where she works with a small number of people, if the other people in the OR aren't willing to make some accomodations then it will be very difficult. It's an issue that can affect patient care, and to be honest sometimes I wondered if it was appropriate for her to be in the OR.

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SirJohnny has 8 years experience and works as a Registered Nurse.

7,552 Visitors; 394 Posts

Hi there:

- Thanks for your reply.

- I employ the same tactics on the nursing floors where I work. Just let everyone know that I have

a hearing issue. It's quite obvious that something is up, as I use a $500 littman electronic stethoscope

that both the nurses and doctors like to play with. Neat for hearing fetal heart tones (for those nurses

that are expecting).

- Am wondering if this accomodation would be extended to the surgical suite. Would hate to put in a year

or so of anesthesiology school, only to be failed out due to hearing issues in clinicals.


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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and works as a Nursing Professional Development + Academic Facult.

5 Followers; 57,847 Visitors; 13,021 Posts

What is the prognosis for your hearing? I'm not a CRNA, but I am a nurse who is completely deaf in one ear and slightly hard of hearing in the other. I've been that way for several years and have met many nurses who are hearing impaired during the course of my 33-year career -- but no CRNA's (though that is not saying they don't exist.) Also, I have a family member with significant hearing problems.

Are you sure your other ear is very stable and not going to deteriorate? Some people have hearing impairments that are not going to get worse with time. Other people have hearing that is likely to worsen as they age. I've met some people who are clearly in denial about their prospects for the future. I'd hesitate to make such a huge investment unless you were really sure about your prognosis -- even if you could overcome the difficulties of your current hearing level.

Have you tried a bi-cross aid? I don't wear one, but I known other people with unilateral hearing who do. It might be worth a try.

Perhaps a visit to a really good otologist is in order as part of your decision-making process -- to get the most accurate diagnosis/prognosis you can -- and a consultation with someone with lots of experience with bi-cross aids.

I specialize in nursing staff development, research, and evidence-based practice. I don't need great hearing for those jobs. I also do a little online teaching. I figure the experience may keep some employment options open should the hearing in my remaining ear deteriorate as I age.

Good luck to you. I'll be interesting to see what you decide.

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