Local Woman with Hearing Loss Shares Experience Communicating With Doctors During COVID-19

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COVID-19 has affected everyone in one way, shape, or form. It’s changed the ways in which we interact with the world, how we “attend school,” and how we understand the transmission of germs. That being said, there are some communities and individuals that have really felt the effects of the pandemic, like those who are hearing impaired. One woman, Susan B, is one such person, who struggled to communicate with doctors after her husband contracted COVID-19. But, as luck would have it, there was an app for that — one that helped her and her husband’s physicians communicate during this troubling time.

susan b covid 19 experience

About Susan

Susan is a Teaneck, NJ resident, so not too far from Hudson County. When times are a bit more normal, she can be found teaching part-time at congregational schools, which she has been doing for a number of years. However, the impact of COVID-19 has affected Susan in a number of ways.

“These days most everything relates to the pandemic,” she shared. “From ordering groceries to speaking with friends who have sadly lost a loved one.”

Being Hard of Hearing During a Pandemic

As with any pandemic, things have been tough. But for Susan, being hard of hearing during it all has proven itself to be a very unique and challenging circumstance.

“The inability to communicate is fundamentally the hardest part. Everything else hinges on that. Certainly, managing healthcare would be on the top of the list,” she told Hoboken Girl. “I’ve learned that with every interaction, I’m in a position, like it or not, to educate and inform the other party and to be even more vocal to others about what I need in order to communicate properly.”

See More: ‘Today Marks My 33rd day in Self-Quarantine:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

To add insult to injury, Susan’s husband became “critically ill” with COVID-19 back in March. Now, trying to communicate about an ill loved with doctors is already difficult enough for those of us who are hearing-abled {medical jargon can be confusing}. But add an extra layer of being hard of hearing and that takes things to a new level.

“I needed to be able to manage the crisis in general and speak with doctors in particular. Like so many people and businesses, the pandemic caught the captioning company I use for my landline by surprise. They simply hadn’t had enough transcribers at the time to keep up with the demand. It takes time to train and I understood that,” Susan said. “Unfortunately, though, I could not rely on seeing captioning immediately upon the beginning of a call. I’ve missed many messages. The significant delay rendered my conversation useless and more stressful.”

But, there was a saving grace for Susan and her husband — InnoCaption. InnoCaption is an app that “provides real-time captioning of smartphone calls to the deaf and hard of hearing through stenographers,” according to the website.

Using InnoCaption During COVID-9

This app served as, quite literally, a blessing for Susan and her husband. She was able to utilize it to effectively communicate with her husband’s doctors about his condition.

“[It] was reliable and quick in transcribing,” Susan shared. “If I did have some issues, the support was immediate and very helpful. That I had another option to help me talk on the phone was beyond relieving and even miraculous given the enormity of the problem if I weren’t able to communicate. Knowing how needed captioning is I wonder how I would have managed had I been an ex-pat living overseas. I’d love to know that Anglo ex-pats can access these services as well.”

Read More: I Started to Lose My Sense of Taste + Smell:’ A COVID-19 Patient Shares Their Story

For Susan and her husband, the app served a greater purpose — it helped them both overcome an already challenging enough pandemic and come out on the other side. And, Susan’s story is a humbling reminder for us all that no matter how tough we think times are, they can always be worse.

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Arielle is a born-and-bred Jersey girl and like a true NJ native, half her diet consists of bagels and the other half pizza. As a graduate of both American University and City, University of London, she’s been a passionate writer ever since she wrote her first “book” in the first grade. When she’s not furiously typing away at her keyboard, she spends her time ticking places off of her “to travel to” list, trying any and all new foods, and trying to stop herself from spending too much money at Zara.