Your relationships with your healthcare professionals, whether they are hearing care professionals or any other healthcare providers, are deeply personal.
You need to be able to trust them with your intimate experiences, your symptoms and your concerns. The healthcare professionals should, in turn, listen attentively, provide effective feedback and explain your treatment options in a way you can easily understand. Just like any other relationship, effective communication with your healthcare providers is foundational to building a meaningful partnership.
Here are some tips on how to best communicate with healthcare professionals to ensure you’re getting the most possible out of your healthcare relationships.
Prepare for your hearing appointment
- Keep good records: It helps to have documentation ready, so you don’t have to keep your entire health history in your head. Maintain a record of both past and present medications, dates of important medical incidents in your past, your family health history, names of other healthcare professionals you have seen or are currently seeing, allergies to medications, symptoms you are experiencing and any other information you think may be of note.
- Get organized: Healthcare professionals, just like the rest of us, are very busy people. Odds are they have a full roster of people to see both before and after your visit. Make the most of your limited time together by keeping yourself well organized. Have important information where it is readily accessible.
- Prepare questions: Develop a list of questions you would like your healthcare provider to address ahead of your appointment. Focus in on the two to three top concerns you want to discuss, as well as any follow-up questions that you think are important. Knowing what you want to talk about before the conversation takes place can help you delve into your most vital areas of concern easily.
At your hearing appointment
- Bring a loved one: Consider the possibility of bringing a family member or friend with you to your appointment. Sometimes dealing head-on with decisions relating to your health and treatment options can be an emotional experience. Having a trusted advocate to help you listen and sort through new information can be extremely helpful.
- Be sure you understand: Make sure to ask questions about all concerns you may have. Communicating effectively with healthcare professionals requires that both parties be present and represented. Be assertive in getting the information you need to make informed decisions about your health. A helpful technique to clear up any misunderstandings is to repeat the answers you receive back to your healthcare provider in your own words. This helps to ensure that any barriers to your understanding are addressed in a timely manner.
- Be honest: Your healthcare provider will often need additional information about your health or lifestyle to address your concerns. Be sure to answer all questions they pose to you honestly and as completely as possible. Everything you share is confidential, and it will often help to add valuable context.
Following your hearing appointment
- Follow up: If you continue to experience problems after your appointment, or you forgot to communicate something of importance, don’t hesitate to schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider.
- Stay in touch: Find out if your healthcare provider uses any sort of electronic communication, such as email or an online portal. Using these electronic tools can save you time by communicating directly to your healthcare provider without necessarily coming into the office. Additionally, you may be able to access previous appointments or lab results for your records.
Creating an open, effective partnership with your healthcare providers is a critical part of maintaining your health.