What patients REALLY mean…
Hearing loss is not physically painful, but it can cause emotional pain. Patients are often in denial about how difficult communication has become. When informed that they could benefit from hearing aids, patients often say one thing, yet mean another. Listening to the objections and asking questions can help determine what the patient is feeling. Patients want to know you understand their feelings and concerns, not always just test results and product details.
Listening to Understand:
- Be empathetic
- Use open-ended questions and phrases
- “Tell me about…”
- “How did that situation feel?”
- “Describe what happened when….”
- Ask questions you may know the
answer to, but listen to their answer
- Let them finish their thoughts
What patients say vs. what they mean:
“ If you didn’t mumble I’d hear better.”
I know I’m missing words and having
“ I’m not old enough to need hearing aids.”
I don’t want to be seen as weak or old.
“ I hear what I want to hear.”
Sometimes I don’t hear everything and I tell
myself that’s ok so I don’t get frustrated.
“ I don’t want to hassle with hearing aids.”
I’d consider hearing aids if they were easy
“ My doctor said my hearing isn’t bad enough”
I’d think about it if my doctor said it
The bottom line…
Denial and reluctance are common emotions attached to acknowledging a need for hearing aids. It is our job as
clinicians to find the core of the objection and address the true concern. Effective communication requires listening,
focusing on the patient’s feelings and asking further questions.