That is an interesting topic: Dentistry and the Deaf.
I'll set up a page at the Lifeprint Library to host a dialog on this
A few thoughts that come to mind:
Put in a pair of ear plugs and walk into your office. Look around
as if it were your first time in the office and imagine how it would be
for a deaf person. Are there written directions that explain the
registration process? If the patient needs to be directed to one of
several waiting rooms, are the directions available in a written form?
After a patient registers and takes a seat in the waiting room, is there
a visual prompt that indicates when it is his turn.
I always dislike sitting in certain doctor's and dentist's offices
because I can't tell who they are summoning. I try to keep track
of who arrived before and after me so I can tell when it is my turn, but
that method is a hassle. Plus sometimes they call a name and I
think it is mine only to find out after I walk up that it was someone
This problem is solved by some doctors / dentists who use an electronic
number display that shows the number of the person who is currently
being seen. Each patient is handed a number as they register and
can see from the display how many people are ahead of them in line.
Often it will be appropriate to provide a certified interpreter. Many
deaf lipread, but many don't. It is important to treat everyone as
individuals. If a deaf person requests an interpreter then provide
one. If you don't know where to find one...then ask the Deaf
person. If he or she doesn't know (which is highly unlikely) then
you can check with your state's chapter of the Registry of Interpreters
for the Deaf or similar organization. Check www.RID.org for more
Can the deaf person see the dentist's or hygienist's face? Some Deaf are
comfortable lip-reading, but I've yet to learn how to lip-read someone
wearing a face mask. If it is a "policy" to wear the face mask perhaps
the hygienist or dentist would be so kind as to simply lean back a bit
and pull the mask down temporarily each time he or she speaks the the