The Fifth Experience

The Fifth Experience:  Managing Face to Face Communication

In this video, Barb Urick explains what works and doesn’t work for her in communicating as a deaf person who does not use sign language.

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Learning from the Fifth Experience

Barb identifies some frequent challenges, like people who think that the way to effectively communicate is to simply talk louder. In general, speaking at a normal level works most effectively. Increasing your volume changes the way your lips move, and so may make lipreading more challenging.

The Limits of Lipreading

Lipreading or speechreading has many limitations. Many words look similar on the lips. Try this example and see if you can guess what order the following phrases are uttered:

“pay me,” “baby,” or “maybe.”

See Lipreading Test Answers

Tips for all patients with a hearing loss

Here are some tips for working with all people who have a hearing loss.

  1. Ask the person what works for communicating.
  2. Talk directly to the person. If there is another person in the room assisting with communication, still speak directly to and look at the person you are trying to communicate with.
  3. Make sure you have effective lighting. For people who depend on visual communication and cues, it is important to consider lighting.
  4. Be sure you have the person’s attention before starting to speak.
  5. Allow opportunities for clarification. At times you may want to ask patients to repeat back their understanding of what has been communicated. Avoid asking questions like, “Do you understand?” This puts all the responsibility on the patient. Instead, ask something like, “Were those directions clear?” which maintains a shared responsibility for communication.

Tips for working with interpreters

If you are working with an interpreter, here are some specific things to remember:

  1. Qualified interpreters are professionals and considered a member of the healthcare team. They follow ethical practices that maintain patient privacy and confidentiality. An interpreter’s presence should be documented in the patient’s chart as a matter of record.
  2. Speak at your natural pace and volume. If the interpreter needs you to pause or clarify something, she or he will ask you to do that.
  3. Don’t say anything in front of a patient that you don’t want the patient to hear. An interpreter is there to convey as much information as possible and if you say something in front of a patient, she or he will most likely interpret that for the patient. If you want to say something in private, step out of the patient’s room to do so.
  4. Address the deaf person when speaking. Avoid phrases like “Tell him…” or “Ask her…” The interpreter is there to allow you to do the telling and asking.

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Transcript of The Fifth Experience Video

Well, as soon as I have an appointment with any medical personnel, I usually tell them, “Before you even talk to me, I want you to know that I have a hearing loss. And I wear hearing aids, … but they just give me sound, not understanding. So, you need to look at me because I lipread.”

Now I can’t understand everybody’s lips because some people speak differently than others, especially people who, I would call them, “ethnic people.” They come from other countries. It’s very hard for me to understand them. So, I will either ask them to write it down or ask to have an oral interpreter there for me.

There are sometimes I don’t know if they accept what I am telling them because all of a sudden they start talking very loud to me. Or want to talk in my ear. I have to push them away and say, “Hey, don’t talk to me that way.” Because that doesn’t work for me.

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Lipreading Test Answers

  1. Maybe
  2. Pay me
  3. Baby

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