Study: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Clinicians Spend Personal Time Arranging for Tools

A new study, published in the February 2013 issue of Academic Medicine, has found that while deaf and hard of hearing (DHoH) physicians are aided by accommodations, such as electronic stethoscopes and closed-captioning technologies, they spend significant amounts of personal time arranging for these tools.

A team of researchers from University of California, Davis (Calif.), University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and University of Michigan in Ann Arbor surveyed DHoH medical students, residents and practicing physicians. Out of the 86 recruited for the survey, 56 completed it.

The study found that most spent two hours per week making arrangements for accommodations — such as submitting requests or coordinating with interpreters. Two medical students estimated that they spend 10 hours each week making these arrangements.

Most respondents appeared satisfied with their accommodations. The most commonly-used accommodations, according to the survey are:

•    Amplified stethoscopes — 89 percent
•    Auditory equipment — 32 percent
•    Computer-assisted real-time captioning — 21 percent
•    Signed interpretation — 21 percent
•    Oral interpretation — 14 percent

The study is the first to address the issues faced by this group of clinicians.

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