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CaptionCall Jumpstart Journey - May 2019

What are a Few Effective Communication Strategies?

Frank Lin, MD, PhD

May 31, 2019

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Question

What are some communication strategies to ensure effective communication?

Answer

The first and arguably most important approach is to review effective communication strategies. This may even be more important than any type of technology we can offer patients. In conversations with family and loved ones, as well as out in the community, our patients need to be able to follow some basic communication strategies. 

Communication Strategy #1: Get face to face. Anytime our patients are face to face with someone they want to talk to and they are in a quiet room, they're likely going to hear fine. If you're speaking clearly in a quiet room, and the auditory signal comes in clearly enough to the ear, by the time the signal reaches the brain, it should be good enough to allow the person to hear it. In addition, visual cues such as facial expressions and gestures help fill in any gaps. Also, turning off background any noise helps with communication.  

Communication Strategy #2: Repeat then reword. This is a strategy that is useful for the communication partner of a person who is hearing impaired. If someone did not understand you, repeat the question or statement once. If the person with hearing loss still cannot understand it, rather than yelling it a third time, reword the statement or direction. The burden for this strategy is not on your patient, but with their communication partner. As such, it is helpful if you are able to counsel not only the patient but perhaps their spouse or family members.

Communication Strategy #3: Summarize. The third strategy is for the patient to be specific about what they do and do not hear. Rather than saying "huh" or "what", if is more helpful if they summarize and rephrase what they heard or what they missed in the conversation.

This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from the CE Course, Hearing Loss & Aging: A Public Health Perspective​. For more information please visit the CaptionCall Partner Page on AudiologyOnline. 

 


frank lin

Frank Lin, MD, PhD

Frank R. Lin, M.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health and a Professor of Otolaryngology, Medicine, Mental Health, and Epidemiology at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Lin completed his medical education, residency in Otolaryngology, and Ph.D. in Clinical Investigation, all at Johns Hopkins. He completed further otologic fellowship training in Lucerne, Switzerland. Dr. Lin's clinical practice is dedicated to otology and the medical and surgical management of hearing loss. His public health research focuses on understanding how hearing loss affects the health and functioning of older adults and the strategies and policies needed to mitigate these effects. From 2014-2016, Lin led initiatives with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (workshopconsensus study), the White House President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), and Congress that resulted in passage of the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 which overturned 40 years of established regulatory precedent in the U.S. This federal law reflects the direct results of his prior research and broader policy work around hearing loss and public health. He currently serves as a member of the Board on Heath Science Policy at the National Academies.  As the director of the Cochlear Center, he oversees over $30 million in committed NIH and philanthropic funding dedicated to advancing the mission areas of the Center.


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