I’m sorry, doctor, I didn’t quite catch what you said ...

THE charity, Action for Hearing Loss, is calling on Bexhill GPs to ensure they communicate clearly when treating patients who are hard of hearing.

A national survey, Access All Areas?, showed 28 per cent of respondents had been unclear about a diagnosis during an appointment.

The charity recommends that doctors should keep a note of patients with hearing difficulties, and see that they and their staff are trained in basic deaf awareness.

Good lighting and facing a patient directly can help them to lip read, and Action on Hearing Loss asks that medical staff use plain language, normal lip movements and facial expressions in such circumstances.

A hearing loop installed in reception will assist wearers of hearing aids without the need to speak loudly, which can be uncomfortable for them as well as being potentially embarrassing.

Ideally, surgeries should also have someone who is a registered sign language interpreter for people who communicate in this way.

Patients wishing to read the charity’s full report should log on to: www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/access