It’s a fact; 40-80% of medical information provided by hearing care professionals is forgotten immediately. And almost half of what is remembered is incorrect. Sharing information is a vital part of the relationship between hearing care professionals and their clients. Fortunately, there are proven ways to relay information effectively.
Dean Thompson, a chartered psychologist and research fellow at the Institute of Applied Health Research, contributed a module to our Tinnitus Management course in the Ida Learning Hall called Effective Tinnitus Information Sharing. But his advice is equally relevant for anyone. Here are some of his top tips and techniques:
- Ask about your clients’ expectations, hopes, and capabilities so you can prepare to meet their needs.
- Present important information first. People can better remember information given to them at the start of a list. It’s called the primacy effect.
- Avoid jargon unless your client uses it. In that case, make sure you are working from the same understanding and definitions of the jargon.
- Stress key pieces of information, repeat information, or reduce how much information is shared in one sitting.
- Write information down. Written details are typically better remembered and lead to better adherence to treatment.
- Supplement verbal information with written and visual information.
- Use concrete instructions. For example, you could say, “Use earplugs when going to a concert,” rather than, “Avoid exposure to excessive noise.” People can perceive information to be more important when it contains a specific instruction.
- Explain what you will be doing and in which order so your clients have a roadmap of how the appointment will unfold.
- Use Socratic Questioning to empower your client to find their own solutions. For example, you could ask, “How do you think your ideal self – you at your best – would respond to the tinnitus?”
- Be sure to check in with your client regularly to make sure they are understanding the information.
Dive deeper into effective information sharing by visiting the free Tinnitus Management course in the Ida Learning Hall.