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General Medical Information

Florida Coordinating Council for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Communication Access and Accommodation Card

Create your own personalized Communication Access and Accommodation Card from the Health Bridges website.

Before you are admitted

  • Contact Patient Services and inform them of your scheduled admittance and your communication needs.
  • Ask Patient Services about the hospital policy regarding removal of your hearing aids or external cochlear implant device during your procedure.
  • Ask Patient Services if your medical charts will show you have a hearing loss and request that they post a sign above your bed that indicates you have hearing loss.
  • Speak with your physician about medications that you will receive.  Some are “ototoxic” and may effect your hearing.
  • Make sure your anesthesiologist is aware of your hearing loss.
  • Find out the telephone equipment that is available to you. Do they offer a volume control phone, TDD, or CapTel? Are they equipped with a visual alert?
  • Request that the television in the room has the closed captioning enabled.
  • If you wear a cochlear implant, make sure that the hospital staff is aware of the risks involved in the use of MRI technology.

When you go to the hospital

  • Bring a rigid container to store your hearing aids / speech processor in during your stay. (Make sure it has your name and address on it). Do not wrap them in a tissue and put them on the bed side table. Many hearing aids are thrown out by accident because of this. Put them in the container and in a drawer when not in use. 
  • If you need your hearing device re-attached or your HA inserted in your ears after surgery, make a plan with hospital staff for them to either perform this or get permission for a friend or family member to come into ICU to do the re-attachment.
  • If you are a deaf signer, you will need a qualified / certified sign language interpreter to be available during intake, recovery and awakening from sedation.
  • It is always wise have a friend or family member with you during intake, doctor consultation, recovery instructions, etc. It is good to have another person listening to the instructions in case you miss something. 

Communication Tips for Hospital Staff

  • Note “Hard of Hearing” or “Deaf” on patient’s chart.
  • Staff needs to be aware that a Qualified / Certified Sign Language Interpreter needs to be present during anytime in the entire process where communication is necessary, if the patient allows it.
  • When working with a sign language interpreter speak and look directly at the patient, do not use words such as “tell him/her”.
  • Include on patient’s chart equipment needs, i.e., hearing aids, cochlear implant, etc.
  • List communication preferences in chart, i.e. interpreter services, phones (tty, amplified phone, voice carry over), real-time captioning service, note writing, speech reading (lip reading).
  • Do not call out the patient’s name in the waiting room. They will not respond, better to approach them directly and touch them lightly on the shoulder.
  • Allow more time for communication.
  • Allow patient to keep hearing aids, speech processor (external portion of a cochlear implant), and extra batteries and make sure they are wearing them when you are communicating with them.
  • Remove surgical masks before talking to the patient.
  • Move into the patient’s line of sight and keep eye contact.
  • Do not restrict both hands and ask about the patient’s dominant hand. (If possible avoid IV insertion in the dominant arm).
  • Communication with a patient with hearing loss depends significantly on their ability to see. If they wear glasses make sure they have access to them.
  • Write down important instructions or if given orally, ask the patient to repeat them back to you.
  • Gently touch a patient’s shoulder or arm to get their attention.

Provided by  Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advocacy Services at
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services of the Treasure Coast, Inc.

Additional Resources

*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.