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September 13, 1995

Communicating With Deaf Patients

Author Affiliations

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

JAMA. 1995;274(10):794-795. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530100034017

To the Editor.  —A recent encounter with a deaf patient in my office identified a previously underused resource for increasing communications between deaf patients and their physicians. A 30-year-old employee of a local computer manufacturing company came to my office recently with a history of deafness since childhood, secondary to meningitis. After realizing the great difficulty that we would have in regular communications, particularly on follow-up telephone conversations, which might form the heart of her true needs, she asked me if I was on electronic mail (E-mail). I indicated that I was, and she suggested therefore that we communicate by E-mail. This has a proved a highly desirable form of communication for this particular patient for several reasons. She can communicate with me at any time and can be assured that I will get the message. I can also respond as needed and with sufficient detail. We are subsequently forming

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