Individuals who are not deaf or hard of hearing hear about 0 to 15 decibels. The decibel scale is used to measure the intensity of sound.
Rinne's Test is part of the tuning fork test (comparison of air and bone conduction). To perform this assessment, place a vibrating fork on the mastoid bone (bone conduction), count how long the patient can hear then quickly place the fork in front of the ear canal (air conduction). Individuals should hear air conduction twice as long as bone conduction.
Weber's Test is part of the tuning fork test (lateralization of sound). To perform this assessment, place a vibrating fork on top of the patient’s head (midline). Ask the patient if the sound is equal in both ears. Sounds will differ if an ear is hard of hearing or deaf.
Tinnitus, ringing in the ear, is typically the first symptom that presents before a patient becomes hard of hearing or deaf.
Patients who might not fully realize that they are becoming hard of hearing or deaf will ask you to repeat your question or answer questions inappropriately.
Be sure to face the patient and speak clearly when communicating. This clarity allows patients who are hard of hearing or deaf to know you are addressing them and affords them a chance to read your lips. There is no need to shout, as lower tones are typically easier for patients to hear.
If a patient does not understand something you have said, rephrase the question or statement. Do not state the same thing twice. Pause and then rephrase.
It is important to have the patient repeat what they understood from the conversation back. This ensures that the patient is able to follow along during the conversation.
Hearing aids come in all shapes and sizes. It is important to keep the hearing aids in a marked container when they are not in use to prevent them from getting lost.
If a patient understands or uses sign language, it is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act that an interpreter be present for activities related to informed consent and discharge teaching.
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