Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      Getting communication right at the GP

      Our Policy and Campaigns volunteer, Nathalie, who has severe hearing loss, explains the Accessible Information Standard (AIS) and how it can help you.

      By: Nathalie Sfakianos | 16 November 2018
      I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel as if my visits to the GP are like an obstacle course. I’ve been going to the same surgery since 1999 but they still don’t take my severe hearing loss into consideration.

      On arrival, I have to remind the receptionists – despite having checked that my hearing loss is recorded on my notes – that I need to lipread to hear. There are different waiting rooms, and I often have to ask twice to be sure I know which one I should be going to. Once there, I have to wait vigilantly because there is no electronic system, so people’s names are called for consultations.

      When I’m finally seen, the doctor seldom looks at me when talking – sometimes even when I ask – and never checks that I’ve understood the information given to me. As my hearing is so bad, all my concentration goes into making sure I hear the words being said. It’s often not until after I get home that I process what they actually mean. If I have a question to ask, I’m always offered a phone consultation despite the many, many times I’ve told them that I do not use the telephone.

      The stress of negotiating that obstacle course is added, every time, to the anxiety of needing the doctor in the first place. I’m a little ashamed to say that, sometimes, I just give up and leave health problems longer than I should.


      What is the AIS and why do we need it?

      The Accessibility Information Standard (AIS) is designed to help NHS services ensure people with disabilities, including those who are deaf or have hearing loss, have their communication needs met. This includes being able to book appointments, and understanding all the information and advice given before, during, and after their visit.

      Since August 2016, providers have been legally obliged to comply with these requirements. But evidence shows that it’s not happening. For example, our recent report Good Practice? highlighted that nearly two-thirds (64%) of people who are deaf or have hearing loss are leaving their GP appointment feeling unclear about their health advice.


      What can be done?

      In the past few months, I’ve been working on a research project for Action on Hearing Loss exploring how well accessibility issues affecting people who are deaf or have hearing loss are included in the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection reports. Our Good Practice report findings, as well as feedback from NHS England and the CQC itself, show that many GPs are still not complying with the standard. However, the CQC’s inspection reports fail to mention this.

      Finding this out made me realise there is something I can do to protect my own health. I want to take charge of my own healthcare, and not rely on my husband to relay what doctors are saying to me. I need to understand how not having my hearing loss taken seriously jeopardises my physical and emotional health

      The AIS has the potential to transform the way people like me access health and social care. However, to be effective, it must be properly implemented and enforced. NHS services need to work together to tackle this issue head-on.

      My research has enlightened me that I can also do my bit by telling my GP what the AIS says and being determined enough to say, every time I feel unsupported at my GP surgery, exactly what they could and should be doing to help me get the health information I need. I need to help them to help me.

      If you’ve experienced poor quality care, you can tell your GP how their services weren’t accessible and the changes you would like to see. Action on Hearing Loss has created a simple tool to help you contact your GP.
      Getting communication right at the GP

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.