Students

Students with hearing loss have trained and are training across the health professions. Some feature in articles.

We don’t have much on this page yet so tell us what you know and what you would like to see. Thank you.

Information

See “Academic/Professional Issues” on the AMPHL website.

Deafinitely Able Internet Resources for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students.

SKILL National Bureau for Students with Disabilities

RNID factsheets about education including information about equipment, adjustments and DDA.

Student diary. Kirsty, a deaf medical student, records her first four weeks at university on the BBC Ouch! website.

16 thoughts on “Students”

  1. Dear sir/madam,

    My name is Mariana Couto. I am 21 years-old and I am a medical student at Nova Medical School, in Lisbon, Portugal.
    I was born with bilateral profound deafness. I live without any hearing aids nor cochlear implants.
    So far it has never stopped me from dreaming and achieving all my dreams, although the greatest of all them has not been realized yet. It is the dream of becoming a medical doctor.

    For this I will need some tools such as the stethoscope. This way, I am looking for the perfect one to acompany me throughout the next years of Medical School and, eventually, clinical pratice.

    I have done extensive research on the Internet and I have found out some amplificated stethoscopes that are not suitable for me because of my profound deafness. I need a visual stethoscope and I do not know the best one for me and where I can get it.

    Please be so kind to send me some detailed information about stethoscopes which might be suitables for me.

    Thank you so much.

    Faithfully,

    Mariana Couto.

  2. Dear Mariana,

    Well done for persevering and getting this far in your studies. See the table on our website here that compares stethoscopes. There are only two that I know of with visual display.

    One is the Thinklabs stethoscope that can be linked to iPhone or iPad for example to give a visual display. Since I wrote our web pages, Thinklabs has produced a new model “The One” but the information is essentially the same.

    The other is the ViScope that has an integral visual display. I’ve just heard that Cardionics is no longer supplying the Vi-Scope. Looking on-line, there are a few available in the US. I don’t know whether those suppliers will be getting any more once the supply from Cardionics has run out. So you may need to get in quickly.

    (Sorry I haven’t had time yet to update the website information about supplies.)

  3. I am seeking some information in ways that hearing impaired/ hard of hearing/ Deaf (I think I have covered all bases!) Nurses have overcome issues with not hearing IV infusion Machines when they are alarming?
    I ask about these specifically as I am a student Nurse with a high frequency hearing loss and this is the alarm I am struggling to hear consistently.
    the plan is for now is that I visually check them every half an hour as well as checking them every hour as per ward policy.
    I think I have answered my own question but if anyone out there has seen another working Idea I would very much like to hear from you.

    1. Hi
      I was a profoundly deaf nurse on an acute medical ward.
      I had the iv infusion pumps modified. Our maintenance people worked with access to work and about 6 Baxter pumps were modified to have a transmitter attached to the pump so that when an alarm went off my pager vibrated with the number. However as I said these modified pumps would be borrowed and not returned by other wards.
      I also used to put a sign up in each room asking patients and visitors to use the call bell to alert me to alarms. That and visual checking. I am now medically retired following an accident at work, nothing to do with my deafness.
      Hope this helps.
      Kim

      1. Hi Kim

        Thanks for your response on this.
        I appreciate you are retired now and possibly doing this from memory but do you recall the model names of the transmitters that were used and the pager system.

        I only ask as I want to be able to present solutions when I have a meeting about this. I know it is not just me that has to come to the solution but if I can show it has happened before I think it will make the whole process more simple and quicker!

        Again many thanks for your help and I hope your injury has not caused to many issues for you.

        Regards Gavin

  4. Hi Gavin,
    I think you’re right, in that you have answered your own question!

    My hearing was still OK when I was a hospital doctor, so I don’t have personal experience of having to spot IV infusion alarms. But I’m sure I’ve seen some discussion of it in the past. I’m not sure whether in our own email group: I’ve a feeling it may have been years before in the old NOISE email group based in the US.

    As you say, being proactive and checking alarms regularly is a useful strategy.

    Do the machines also have some form of visual sign that they’re alarming? A flashing light? If so, trying to positition them so that faces towards where you’ll mostly be working, so you can also keep having a quick look round at the machines for flashing lights. In fact, I’m sure I remember one discussion where an ITU unit had moved to visual alarms to accomodate a deaf nurse, and then decided to turn off the audible alarms. Everyone used the visual alarms and found ITU much more peaceful.

    I also remember someone working with their technical dept to mount sound detectors on the machines, that would transmit to a vibrating pager. In the same way as things like the Bellman system in the home can be used with a baby alarm. But I’ve a feeling it wasn’t very successful.

    It would be good to hear from some others to see what they’re doing, so I’ll let our email group know about your question and hope we get some replies.

  5. Hi Gavin ,
    I have a profound high frequency hearing loss and work with infusion pumps
    I am very fortunate because ours are very loud and have 3 ascending notes, and the lower2 alert me. My difficulty is with those patients who are in their own rooms .So Like you, I check regularly. I also put my Phonak smartlink receiver in the room near the infusion pump, but to be honest my best alarm is the patient or the other patients who are driven mad by the sound, even the deaf/HOH ones. They will use the call buzzer which buzzes and vibrates in My pocket. If the patient is unconscious I check more often and If possible leave the door open. Relatives can be very useful too. I tell them that I might miss the sound if I am busy , and would they let me know, and they do!
    I find honesty best and people don’t seem alarmed by a nurse with disability it doesn’t make me feel that my other skills are under scrutiny

  6. Hi Pauline,

    thanks, this is really helpful.

    I’m intrigued about the call buzzer you have set up with a vibrating alert. Do you have details of the make and model as this is something many of us may find useful in all sorts of situations.

    And have I understood right about how you’re using the Phonak Smartlink? Do you keep your recievers on all the time and therefore hear whatever is going on in the room where you’ve left the Smartlink? Or is it also set up just to alert you somehow?

  7. Hi Clare,
    The buzzer system is just the patient call system installed in the building. It is wonderful for me as it is very loud and vibrates. I wish the phone and the door entry were attached to it too. I am back at work on Tuesday so I will make a note of the make
    My smartlink, I found out by mistake that when I left the” smartlink” in the patients room, I continued to hear what went on via my “mylink+”. Obviously I have to tell the patient and relatives what I am doing and why. I plug it into the power for the 12.5 hour shift, so nothing clever I am afraid, just another fail safe. I have to charge” my link” too. I work alone at night and have A&E and inpatients, so it means I can have my meals. During the day I have an HCA so they are my ears

  8. Hi Pauline/ Clare
    Thanks for the response and advice. I had heard/ seen about these pager systems but I was unsure how effective they would be!?
    My lectures at uni have been really supportive and have suggested checking more frequently and older patients and parents ( work in peads) alerting me that they are alarming for what ever reason.
    As you say unconscious patients obviously have to be checked more regularly. because I have not had much to do with the infusion machines to date I am unsure even if I can change the pitch of the noise on the unit but then that could cause issues for other nurses on the ward and not responding to them.
    between myself and my mentor I am sure we will find a solution to the issue. I am back on the ward in the next few weeks and I will let you know how it goes.
    Many thanks again

  9. Another reply from someone in our email group:

    I had some machines modified so that when the alarm sounded my pager vibrated each machine was numbered and the pager would tell me which number to go to. This was done through access to work.
    The problem was that even though these pumps were supposed to remain on my ward they did sometimes go walkabout. I am not sure if this would be suitable for someone moving around wards.

  10. Hi Pauline/ Care

    I have started back on the ward and there have still been some concerns raised with my mentor about hearing infusion and sats monitors.

    She is coming from the angle of wanting to make sure that they are doing everything for me so that I do not need to worry about hearing the alarms of my patients.

    I would especially like to know some more details about model names for pagers that you are using Pauline as this is going to give me headway into finding some answers. I am also interested in what infusion pumps you use and how they have been modified?

    Do you connect the call system to the infusion pump and then it alerts the cal bell?

    This suggests to me that you have a pager connected to the call bell system?

    I think someone mentioned access to work as a means of getting help here but I cant find who that was or if I read it somewhere else.

    Many thanks in advance
    Gavin

  11. Hi Gavin,
    while you’re a student, funding might be via the Disabled Students’ Allowance rather than Access to Work. But I’m not sure which applies to student nurses specifically. Your university should have a disability officer. They will know the system and are the people to contact to get an assessment. If it turns out to be AtW, you contact them direct and someone visits you in the workplace to look at the environment and equipment and advise.

    Info about AtW is here but do contact the Uni disability support office first.
    Clare

    1. HI Clare

      Thanks for your response

      Indeed I have contacted the disabled student bursary people and they are happy to help but need me to have a needs assessment completed first and then it would go to them for payment.
      I have been asking all these question as I want to go to people with solutions of were nurses have had adaptions before, instead of people thinking about it and delaying the process. Everyone wants to help in the process but it is difficult to find worked adaptions in a ward environment.
      Many thanks for your advice
      Gavin

    1. Hi James,
      yes, people are using the ThinkLabs One in hospitals and other environments. Can’t think of any reason why it couldn’t be, same as any other electronic stethoscope. Don’t forget to clean the head between patients, as with any stethoscope. I think the only situation where you couldn’t use your own is in the situation with infection where nothing can be removed from the patient’s room.
      Clare

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