How to Create a Hearing Loss Hospital Kit

Advertisements

Hearing loss and hospitals are a difficult combination. The environment is hectic and you are probably not feeling your best. Doctors and other medical staff are often masked, dampening the sound of their voices and hiding lip reading cues. Due to Covid-19, family or friends may not be allowed to accompany you to help advocate for your needs. It is up to you to make sure you understand your diagnosis and the decisions that are required for your care. Hearing loss can make that challenging. Proper preparation is the key to success. Build your hearing loss hospital kit today, so it is ready to go if you need it.

Building the Ideal Hearing Loss Hospital Kit

It is important to prepare ahead of time so you are ready to go in case of emergency. The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)’s Edmonton Branch has created an outstanding hospital kit that is a great model for creating your own. Thank you to them for sharing a sample with me. Their excellent kit includes:

Planning guides and information

The kit contains several brochures to help you prepare for a hospital stay. Information includes a list of items to ask for before you arrive at the hospital such as an amplified telephone and a captioned TV in your room. If you need accommodations like CART, you must request these ahead of time too.

There are individual tips sheets that can be shared with nurses, doctors, and administrators. Each provides targeted suggestions to improve communication that will help make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)’s Guide for Effective Communication in Health Care is another great source of information for handling your hearing loss in a medical setting.

Hearing loss identification cards, stickers & buttons

Since hearing loss is invisible, visual reminders of your hearing loss are critical. Many are included in CHHA’s kit. Consider wearing the button that says, “Please speak louder, clearly and face me,” to remind staff about your condition. Affix a similar message to your hospital gown.

The kit also includes two brightly colored signs declaring “I am Hard of Hearing!” for display above or beside your bed. There are also several small stickers emblazoned with the international symbol for hearing loss that can be placed on your medical chart to remind personnel about your hearing loss every time they review your case.

Even with these visual aids, you may still need to remind staff about your hearing loss at the start of each shift. Do so with a smile.

Communication tip sheets

The kit includes several copies of CHHA’s “How to Help Our Communication” tip sheet so you can share it with multiple caregivers. The directions are basic, but critical for better communication in any setting, but especially in an emotionally charged hospital room.

The sheet says:

  • Get my attention before talking
  • Face me — I need to see your face to lipread
  • Speak clearly — don’t over emphasize or shout
  • If possible, turn off background noise
  • Don’t cover your mouth
  • Rephrase if misunderstood
  • Write down important information
  • Ask me to repeat vital facts to be sure I understand correctly

If verbal communication is still not working well, a pen and small notebook are included in the kit as a backup. You may prefer to use a speech-to-text app on your smartphone, a boogie board or small reusable whiteboard to aid with communication. If so, be sure to bring them and any required chargers with you.

Ways to keep your hearing aids safe and operational

Hearing aids are easy to misplace at the hospital. You may need to remove them for a procedure or to sleep. This kit includes a blue plastic container where you can keep your hearing aids safely. It is labeled with your name, the number of hearing aids and the international symbol for hard of hearing. This is also a good place to store your extra hearing aid batteries.

One of my favorite parts of the kit is a simple Ziplock bag with a safety pin inside. Use this to safely stash your aids if they need to be removed when you are outside your hospital room. Label the bag with your name and pin it to your gown so your hearing aids are not misplaced.

Also included is a hearing aid battery tester which makes it easier for staff to trouble shoot faulty devices. Sometimes all that is needed is a new battery to get a device working again.

Personalize the Kit with Your Hearing Loss Necessities

Customize the base kit with items specific to your hearing loss and the devices that you use to hear your best. This includes lots of extra batteries and all the chargers you will need. Label everything with your name and phone number since many chargers look alike. Add an extension cord in case nearby outlets are full with medical equipment.

Consider swapping out for a spare device

If you have spare devices, bring them as well in case of a malfunction. Or if the back-up devices are fairly recent, consider using them in the hospital instead, keeping your primary and more expensive technology safe at home. The same goes for expensive assistive listening devices like Roger pens. If a smartphone app works almost as well, that may be the less risky choice for a hospital setting.

For more information on how to make your own hearing hospital kit, please contact the CHHA—Edmonton branch at info@chha-ed.com.

Readers, do you have a hearing loss hospital kit?

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter

Never miss a post! Click here to sign up for email alerts. 

32 thoughts on “How to Create a Hearing Loss Hospital Kit”

  1. Susan Berger – Blogging is one big experiment for me. Will it work? Who knows. I'll link websites that have published my essays and maybe I'll write original posts. My topics will be observations, points of view and life as I see it. I'm still marinating...
    Susan Berger says:

    Love the ziplock/pin idea. Alas, with masking, those rules aren’t going to be able to be followed. Phone app is good but would have to hold it up.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      That was my favorite too! I agree that masking will make it hard for them to keep their face uncovered, but the other communication tips will still be helpful. Making communication partners aware of our hearing loss is often half the battle. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Susan Berger – Blogging is one big experiment for me. Will it work? Who knows. I'll link websites that have published my essays and maybe I'll write original posts. My topics will be observations, points of view and life as I see it. I'm still marinating...
    Susan Berger says:

    Agreed. Been using the transcription app for doc appointments. Sometimes it isn’t working properly and I have to ask the speaker to wait. These appointments are stressful. Sometimes I tell personnel to write down whatever important thing it is to tell me. Otherwise don’t bother speaking.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Yes. We have to be creative to make it work in these tough times. Thanks for the dialogue.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! I also agree on a speech-to-text solution. But it would be better if hospitals would make their locations accessible for d/hoh instead of the person with hearing loss has to bring it. P. e. By providing the speech-to-text solution in a room like with Ava for organizations. After all accessibility is a human right. They would be surprised how many people will use it. For medical terms I prefer a hybrid solution (AI with CART option called Scribe). Safer and privacy guaranteed (a lot of apps use your data)

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great point about hospitals, but until then we must self-advocate. Thank you for sharing what works for you.

  4. Various US HLAA chapters have prepared hospital kits to share cheaply. Two are Lane Co., Oregon, and Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m sure there are others.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for sharing the information.

  5. Also vital, not just for people with hearing loss: a charging cord for your phone and other charged devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants that is LONG enough. Sometimes the next outlet is too far away from your bed/table for the patient to reach or plug in yourself. Standard cords tend to be too short for this.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Yes! An extension cord is key. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Yes! I have a hospital kit! For many years HLAA-WA produced and sold hospital kits and Swedish hospital even adapted our kit. My kit also includes a pocket talker and batteries. Every emergency counter and information desk should be equipped with a hearing loop. I’ve discovered that even if we don’t see signage to indicate hearing assistance might be available, always ask! There may be something locked away in a closet. Of course, we may have to be the ones demonstrating how to use the technology… but awareness and education are key! We are 48 million….

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Yes, education and self-advocacy are key! Thank you for sharing your ideas.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Yes! Thanks for your comment.

  7. The Hospital Kit
    Thank you, keep reminding us. Suggestions:
    – Encourage the kit becoming a priority for local HLAA chapters
    – Thanks to Edmonton
    – Keep it simple
    – Remember, your family may not be able to visit
    – Take only what you absolutely need and can manage
    – Re-chargeable batteries run out
    – you man not be able to manage electric cords and charging stations
    – I am bi-lateral with CI on one side and instructed my wife to keep the CI processor at home – it is too complicated to manage in a hospital
    – Take pencil and paper
    – Learn to gesture
    – Take a hearing loss symbol
    – Make sure your hearing loss in on the hospital record
    – Stay well and stay home
    – Keep the kit in a bag by the door
    – Instruct your family as to what you want
    thank you

    Bob

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thank you for these great suggestions.

  8. We developed the kits in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada over the last 10 years and sent samples to some of the USA chapters of HLAA and across Canada. The kits have been upgraded in the last year and include videos.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Sounds wonderful! If you have a link to the videos, please share them here if possible. Thank you for your comment.

  9. Years ago I worked in a place that had a lot of peoples with all sorts of worries.
    One was Deaf and Blind. He developed a system where by when someone rang the bell
    the fans that were all around his home went on.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Very creative! Thank you for comment.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Are you making one? Great news!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Super. Thank you!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great idea! Thanks for weighing in.

  10. A possible workaround to understand treatment planning etc is to have the medical staff meet through a google meet link with another hospital worker, familiar with the medical terminology sitting with the hearing loss patient. Google Meet would provide ASR. Medical staff could be in their offices where they don’t need masks on so lipreading is available. The person sitting with the hearing loss patient can check the ASR to make sure the captioning is accurate. It would also work iso other family members who want to be involved but aren’t allowed on site could join the link as well.

    My Mother, who has severe/profound hearing loss and does not get any benefit from hearing aids is currently in the hospital. This is a solution to the delay in getting CART. Additionally, she’s using a Bellman/Symfon alerting device so that she knows her cell phone is getting a call or a text is coming in.

    Also trying to get Innocaption on her cell phone, something I’ve been trying to get her to do. She had her Captel phone at home so wasn’t feeling it was that important to master using Innocaption and now we wish she had!

    It’s a bit scary with the limitation of family who would normally offer so much support in a hospital setting being restricted if not forbidden.

    Thanks for the post, Shari!

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Very creative! Thank you for sharing these wonderful ideas.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Thanks for reading.

  11. One thing the hospitals can do is to be sure that hearing aid batteries are offered in their gift shops. Since some hospital visits are unexpected, you can find yourself at the hospital with dead batteries.

    1. Shari Eberts – NYC – Shari Eberts is a hearing health advocate, writer, speaker and avid Bikram yogi. She blogs at LivingWithHearingLoss.com and serves on the Board of Trustees of Hearing Loss Association of America. She is the former Board Chair of Hearing Health Foundation. Shari has an adult-onset genetic hearing loss and hopes that by sharing her story, it will help others to live more peacefully with their own hearing issues.
      Shari Eberts says:

      Great idea. Thanks for your comment.

Leave a Reply