Let’s face it, hearing loss is a natural part of life—some people are born with a loss and others acquire it. In addition, hearing loss is one of the issues many older people face—nurses are no different. So, it may not be long before you or a nurse you work with will need support.
Hearing loss doesn’t have to be the end of a career in nursing or an end to aspirations of becoming a nurse. Increasing numbers of nursing students with hearing loss are being admitted to nursing programs. They are graduating and practicing in a variety of health care settings.
Resources are available for nurses and nursing students with hearing loss along with technology and assistive devices.
Where can nurses turn?
The Association of Medical Professionals with Hearing Losses provides a wealth of information about amplified and electronic stethoscopes, as well as information for nurses who have had a cochlear implant. www.amphl.org
ExceptionalNurse.com provides links to organizations, equipment, technology and nurse/mentors with hearing loss. www.ExceptionalNurse.com
What technology is available?
A wide range of stethoscopes are available for nurses with hearing loss. Consultation with an audiologist should be part of the process - to ensure that the stethoscope is appropriate.
What can all nurses do?
Nurses are often afraid to disclose a hearing loss. They fear discrimination, embarrassment and potential loss of employment.
We can all play a part in promoting healthy hearing and effective communication.
Anne Greenwald, RN, Surgical Nurse at Bend Surgery Center. She works in Oregon and serves as a mentor with ExceptionalNurse.com. She is profoundly deaf.
Photo courtesy: www.ExceptionalNurse.com