It seems like we’re all spending a little more time with family nowadays. Whether it’s doing a thousand piece puzzle, baking banana bread together, or walking around the block, hopefully you’ve grown closer to the ones you love. So why not include them in your healthcare decisions? Taking trips to the doctor has become a solo act during this time of limiting exposure, but whenever possible, having a family member accompany you to the doctor is helpful. Especially when it comes to the audiologist, an extra pair of ears never hurts!

Hearing loss and your family

Hearing loss affects not only you, but also your family. In a survey completed over in the UK, 44% of respondents stated that their relationship suffered as a result of hearing loss. 2 out of 3 responded that conversations were harder to conduct because of their hearing loss, and a third lost relationships as a result of worsened communication. A simple solution is to discuss the issue with your partner or children, ask for the advice, and include them in the treatment process. By bringing a family member with you to the audiologist to get a hearing test, you not only validate their concern for you, but you also get another perspective and understanding of the doctor’s words.

How many times have you come home from an important healthcare visit and forgotten a key term or something specific the doctor said? Your family member acts as a backup, and their knowledge of your health can save frustration in the future. They can hear the doctor’s words exactly instead of your retelling of the visit, then help you make decisions to positively impact you both.

When it comes to hearing loss, it is easy to ignore major signs, but by having a loved one with you at the audiologist, they can hold you accountable for taking the next step forward. Additionally, hearing aids can be a pricey investment, so it’s great to include your partner in the buying process. They may have a better comprehension of your insurance coverage and deductibles, and can help you make the best decision for your entire family.

HIPAA and other legal concerns

You may be wondering if legally you are even allowed to bring a family member to your doctors visits. HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, was created to ensure patient’s private information stayed private and could only be accessed by specific people. It gives control over to the patient who can often decide what information is shared, including diagnosis, lab results, or test conclusions, and with whom. You can also decide if it is okay for a doctor to leave a voicemail or send an email, as well as who they are allowed to contact on your behalf. Because of this act, you can bring a relative with you to the doctor and give permission to share healthcare information with them. Know your legal rights and put them to good use! Your family, your health, and your hearing will all benefit.

 

By: Diana Ford


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