Hearing at the GYN

chloe at door

Chloe is so accustomed to going everywhere with me, imagine her shock when I put her in her crate this morning to head to an early morning doctor visit! She goes to all my doctor visits with me, but as I’m still recovering from a sinus/respiratory infection I chose to leave her home for this particular visit as it is harder to keep track of her at the GYN’s office. Wouldn’t you know when I get there they all want to know where Chloe is? (I brought her last year).

Hearing at the Front Desk

The women’s medical plaza that I go to for my GYN visit is a big beautiful place. As you walk in the door, you enter a huge atrium and are completely surrounded by glass. It’s a huge, cavernous place and the echo off the rock, tile and marble is frustrating if you hear with a cochlear implant. I normally do pretty good. However, if you factor in that this is a OB/GYN office, there are various newborn babies crying in the waiting room as “mom” awaits a post-natal appointment with her doctor. There is a wonderful medical television service that discusses various “hot” topics among patients and provides nifty “quizzes” while you wait. They aren’t captioned, but I do really well if I’m sitting within 15 feet or so. However, if your goal while standing at the check-in desk is to communicate with the ladies behind the desk, that added background noise is not really “welcome“.

I asked for a couple of repeats as the friendly ladies at the desk … TALK to their desk as I’m checking in and providing responses to various questions. I happened to spy my chart open and so at one point after the lady again asked something of her DESK, I quickly reached down and tapped the card stapled to the front of my chart. I made the card myself and so easily recognized it. It has a picture of my smiling face and my cochlear implant with sparkly BLING above a paragraph explaining that I hear with a cochlear implant. It is very helpful if you face me when you speak so that I can pick up any visual cues and/or read lips if I miss what you are saying. The receptionist read where my finger was still pointed, looked up and beamed a big smile at me.

“Sorry about that!” she grinned.

“Not a problem”, I grinned back.

(They are the grinning’est office I’ve ever been in… )

Calling my Name and the Nurse’s Station

Because I’m concentrating and paying attention, I don’t have any problem hearing my name called. Sometimes I see other people in waiting rooms and they are deeply engrossed in a magazine, book, or their cell phone (grimace). I’m amazed that their name being called can bring them out of their “fog”, and to the realization that it is now their turn. I guess I’ve had a hearing loss so long, I don’t completely understand how people “hear without trying”.

So back to the nurse’s station I go and I get to go pee in a cup! That’s always such a joy (rolls eyes). Next… on to a room and the nurse asks me questions about my paperwork and takes my blood pressure. 128/76 which is VERY good for me when I’m in the doctor’s office. I monitor it at home as well since hypertension runs in my family, but normally when I go to the doctor my pressure is UP. I guess that means that although I’m smiling it’s not my favorite place to be? The nurse then tells me to “undress” and to remember the robe opens in the front and hands me a paper “drape”. (OH JOY). I repeat everything in order to make sure I understood correctly. I mean… who wants to get THIS wrong?


I have a new doctor because my old doctor of six years left the practice. Her name is Denise, so ya know… she must be pretty good! (smile). Seriously, though she was very thorough and was great about facing me and talking in a normal tone of voice. She asked me about my CI, and was pretty fascinated by the technology. She was very “game” for my request of “how to do this” as I’ve discovered a tried and true practice of how to talk to a doctor when your feet are in stirrups and you have a hearing loss.

I left my email at the check out counter so that that they can email the results to me. The receptionist at the check out desk said “no problem”. I explained that I hadn’t put my email address on anything, and could I write it down for her? Again… no problem, but hey! I’ve walked away before and then they never contact me!

As I was leaving, I felt what I’m sure ladies with normal hearing felt. Thank GOODNESS this only happens once a year.

Denise Portis

© 2009 Hearing Loss Journal

2 thoughts on “Hearing at the GYN

  1. Tell me about it! I go all the way to Bel Air for my GYN. They are great with my hearing loss and always take Echo normally, when I went earlier this year, I had already retired Echo and didn’t take her. They kept looking for Echo as my doctor came in… and she was like hmmm, where is Echo? I said ‘ She’s retired now, and prolly at home sleeping her butt off…’ Sometimes when I go to store, or whatever, I still have the habit of saying ‘ Are you ready Echo?’ but she is not by my side anymore. It takes some adjusting for me to do.

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