Barriers to communication
One of the barriers which I identified was a hearing impairment. I said that one of the ways to overcome this barrier was with the use of a hearing aid. A hearing aid is for somebody who has a hearing impairment and the aim of it is to help them hear sounds and voices more clearly and easily. Many services and leisure facilities advertise that they are able to use their hearing aids in their facility by using the ‘T loop position’. It is also important that when you are communicating with somebody who has a hearing impairment that you ensure you face them directly & use consistent eye contact.
If you are aware that somebody has a hearing impairment then you should be using this positive body language at all times. By allowing them to see your face, you are also giving them the option to lip read if they feel able to do so. This ensures that there are no problems within the communication cycle and that information is passed and received successfully. Sign language and makaton are also other forms of communication if somebody is unable to hear fully. This should be used within schools, colleges, nurseries, doctors’ surgeries, hospitals etc.
All staff should be fully trained to be able to use sign language and makaton in case they need to overcome this particular barrier to communication. To overcome some environmental barriers, you could change the room that you are in so that is more comfortable and a more relaxing, calm environment for the discussion to take place. This is particularly important if you the service user is likely to get irate or angry. The lighting, noise level and amount of space can all contribute to complications within communication.
For example, if you are working with the youth offending team, then the amount of space may be an important factor. It is essential that the room is quiet and you are not likely to get disturbed. If people are constantly coming in and out of the room then this will distract both the service user and the health and social care professional. Where you hold the meeting can also be an important part of confidentiality as parts of a conversation can easily be picked up.
Language barriers can be overcome by using a translator, this may also comfort the service user if they have someone who can speak their language if they do not feel comfortable speaking English etc. If you are communicating with someone non verbally, for example in a letter or e-mail, then you may be able to translate this into their chosen language so that they are able to fully understand the message that you are trying to send to them. There are many facilities on the internet which allows you to translate a statement from one language to another.
If this is not available to you, then there are also dictionaries and books that can help you translate something. This should be used within doctor’s surgeries, hospitals, schools and colleges. As I have previously stated, hearing aids, sign language, makaton and body language are all important factors when trying to overcome a hearing barrier within communication. Although hearing aids are commonly used to aid people who have a hearing impairment, there is not many places that advertise that they are able to use them in a particular place.
The ‘T loop function’ enables those who use a hearing aid to be able to hear things easier and more clearly. The image that I have included is a sign that advertises the T loop function on public transport. By enabling people to use this function, it allows them to hear all public announcements clearly. This is a very positive facility as it allows people with a hearing impairment to hear things that everyone else can. I think that this facility should be used in more places such as in schools and colleges. This will allows everyone to receive messages and important updates.
Sign language and makaton allows people who are hard of hearing to receive messages clearly. I think that this is a really positive way to overcome a barrier however, there are still a large number of health and social care professionals who are not fully trained in BSL. This is unfortunate as they would not be able to overcome this barrier to communication if they come across it in a health and social care setting. I feel that all students at college and university and also all health and social care professionals should have to undertake a course on makaton and British Sign Language.
This should also be an option for relatives and friends of somebody who has a hearing impairment. This will help them to become more confident when working with someone who has a hearing impairment and will also mean that the service user is not missing out on any information. I have researched how sign language can help people who have either learning disabilities or a hearing impairment. The following link shows an article about how staff at a school for children with learning difficulties were trained in how to use British sign language and makaton.
They also trained businesses in the local area so that they were able to communicate effectively with people. The strategies which I have listed which can be used to overcome environmental barriers within communication are not often used. Whilst talking to somebody about a confidential matter, it is very likely that you are often disturbed or that there is no facility available to talk about this matter privately. This of course can break a confidentiality policy as people are able to overhear pieces of information.
Therefore it is essential to ensure that there is always somewhere available when discussing confidential issues. I have stated that translators may be a good resource to use if you are trying to overcome a language barrier within communication. It may be awkward and embarrassing for service users if they cannot understand what you are trying to say to them and also it is very likely to be frustrating. By using a translator they will find it a lot easier to understand you and may also put them at ease if they are able to communicate with someone who speaks their own language.
Of course the facilities are not always available to do so, in this case you can look up the translation for these words in a dictionary or book, this will help the service user to not miss out on the information that you are trying to give them. This is not just necessary for important information, I feel as though this should be used in everyday life if you are in a health and social care professional role which involves you meeting the needs of somebody who communicates in a different language.
For example; if you are a care assistant working within a residential home, and Mr Mambo is from Pakistan and speaks Urdu. None of the staff at the setting speaks this language so they translate all relevant information such as care plans, routines, activity rotas and menu’s into Urdu so that he is able to understand this fully and is aware of how he is being cared for and is also able to have his input into his care plan.
The above link shows a language interpretation and translation policy and procedure for a hospital. It clearly states which safety precautions should be in place to protect both the service user and staff. It is essential that the interpreter has a current, up to date CRB check to ensure that he/she does not have any serious or pending criminal convictions. (Criminal Records Bureau) This document also explains how to access these services and ensuring that you strictly keep to the confidentially policies and procedures.