A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Hospital Accommodations’

Imparting the Value of Hearing Aids to Clueless Medical Staff

In Hearing aids, Hearing Loss, Hospital Accoommodation on March 18, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Sometimes when I go to doctor’s offices or hospitals it happens that I have to take my hearing aids out.   For example, when I see the Physical Therapist, I know I may want to take my hearing aids off when he massages my neck.  I have a case in my purse that keeps them safe from water, oil, and dust.   Occasionally the request to remove my hearing aids catches me off guard.  Like yesterday.

I had to have an MRI.  The technician took me to a small room, instructed me to undress and put on a gown.  My personal belongings were to be placed into a locker.  You can bring the key with you, she explained.

“What about my hearing aids and glasses?” I asked.

“Keep them on.”

This surprised me, since the MRI was going to be done on my neck.  If I had been thinking clearly I would have realized.   Ten minutes later  she asked me to remove my glasses and hearing aids, and to place them on a counter.  Loose.  Out in the open.  In a hallway.

This has happened before during out patient surgeries.  “I’m just going to put them over here on the counter,” the nurse will say.  Loose.  Out in the open.  Near water and chemicals.

“You do know they cost thousands of dollars?” I will ask, “and if you lose them or damage them with water or if someone accidentally scoops them up with a paper towel and throws them away, it will cost the hospital $6000.00  to replace them?”

This is almost always met with a gasp.  They didn’t know.

My hearing aids are worth more than any of my things back in the locker.   They are worth more than a pair of diamond earrings.   You wouldn’t want your diamond earrings sitting out in the open, would you? Because someone might steal them.  I am not sure if people steal hearing aids, but you can never be too careful.  I would guess a desperate person might steal anything that could be sold at a pawn shop.

Hearing aids are even more valuable than the $6000.00 replacement cost I mentioned, because they represent weeks of painstaking programming.    They may be  irreplaceable.  It is a known fact that one hearing aid may not sound as good as the next, even when they are the same brands and models.  Hearing aids are like cars.  Sometimes you get a lemon.

So it pains me to see medical staff treating a pair of hearing aids like a small Happy Meal toy.

“You can just put them right here on this counter before you go inside.”

I try to look at it from their point of view.  A pair of hearing aids look like nothing more than shapeless little globs of plastic and rubber-in most cases colorless gray or beige.  Mine are zebra striped, kidney shaped with pinkish blobs of rubberized ear mold material attached.   Most people are shocked by the cost and don’t know about the weeks of programming.   That’s why those of us who wear hearing aids must speak up.  Medical staff won’t learn if we never say anything.

“You want me to put them here on this counter?  Out in the open, in the hall like this?  You do realize they would cost $6000.00 to replace?”



Aimin’ To Misbehave

In Accommodations for Deaf on January 13, 2009 at 2:59 am

Funny Faces 4, originally uploaded by jaaron.

For Christmas my daughter gave me a tote bag with the words, “Well behaved women seldom make history.” I just happened to glance at it this afternoon and it got me thinking about some of the more noteworthy misbehaving women of our times. There have been several, but the one that first came to mind was Hilary Clinton. One thing she was repeatedly criticized for was her temper. During her campaign she was called a ‘shrew’ and much worse. Yet if she’d been a man, few people would have found fault. Sarah Palin was criticized for trying to ‘upstage’ McCain. For shame! If she had been a man people would have admired her strength of character. Seems many people are more forgiving of men who break the rules. Women in office have to be fighters. We shouldn’t expect less of a presidential candidate who might have to go nose to nose with other world leaders.

What an interesting election year we had this past year, and now we’re about to have our first black president–something Martin Luther King could only dream of when he gave his speech at the Lincoln Memorial back in 1963. Imagine if Harriet Tubman were alive today. SHE was one brave woman who misbehaved so much a price was put on her head. Rosa Parks was another who simply stopped ‘behaving’ one day, by refusing to move to the back of the bus like she was supposed to. She has gone down in history as “The Woman Who Changed A Nation” 


I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about other women who have broken rules and changed the world. There was Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, Gloria Steinem. . . and one of my favorites Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of Girl Scouts. The story goes she had the audacity to strip down to her pantaloons to play basketball with other girls in a men’s club when she was a teenager. She believed girls could do anything boys could do. (gasp!) Teaching young girls to be ‘capable’ became the foundation of Girl Scouting, and undoubtedly influenced a lot of young girls to seek higher goals.

It might seem this has nothing to do with deafness, but it does. You see Juliette Gordon Low was deaf too. If she had lived today, I bet she would be fighting for deaf accessibility instead of equality for young women. The parallels between the Women’s movement, Civil Rights, and lack of deaf access have not been lost on me.

Deaf people are far from ‘equal’ when so much of society is unaccessible to them. When we visit the National Parks our tax dollars have paid for only to find that video presentations and tours normally accessble to the public are inaccessible to us, that is unfair and wrong. When we try to see movies with our families only to find them uncaptioned and inacessible to the deaf, it’s wrong. When we pay for expensive hotel rooms only to find their TV’s have no captioning or their phones not ADA compliant, that is wrong. When we request accommodations at work, and are turned down; when we are passed over for someone less qualified with better hearing, it’s called discrimination and it’s very wrong. The inequities against deaf are rampant. Deaf children miss out on hundreds of educational opportunities open to hearing children every day. Our public museums, theaters, classrooms, businesses find loopholes in the ADA to prevent access and our government turns a blind eye.

When will our deaf “Juliette Low” stand up and fight for us? How long will it take our deaf “Rosa Parks” to dig her heels in and demand equal access? Who will be our deaf “Martin Luther King?” When will our first deaf “Obama” be sworn into office?

We, the Deaf/deaf/hh community, are too complaisant about accommodations. We will not be treated as equals until we start misbehavin’ some. I think it’s time.

Kim 🙂