Communication With the Hard of Hearing Patient

Robert G. Small, MD
JAMA. 1966;195(11):972. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100110140056.
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To the Editor:—  A "Discovery" I made recently is so simple that I can't believe that someone has not thought of it before. It may be of help to others.For years, I have been plagued with the patient who is so hard of hearing that any communication requires shouting. Thus, ward or office personnel are embarrassed or amused at the dialogue. Usually the physician retires with a poor history or poor patient instruction, with frustration on both sides.This is no longer a problem. Simply take any stethoscope, preferably with a diaphragm-type bell. Place it in the patient's ears and speak clearly and distinctly into the end usually reserved for the patient's chest. The plastic diaphragm need not be removed. To increase the volume further, the hand may be cupped about the bell while speaking into the stethoscope. In the short time I have been using this method I


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