Bryson wasn't scared of needles, white gowns, and growing medical expenses; he was terrified because he suddenly was no longer able to hear due to his cancer treatments. Prior to this, he was able to talk to the doctors with ease, but now his treatment was the source of communication barriers between him and his medical team. Time was of the essence; his surgery was scheduled for the following week and he didn’t have time to learn sign language or seek options for hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Bryson was stressed about meeting with his medical team for his pre-operation evaluation. He didn't know how he would understand the proceedings and aftercare instructions. It was also challenging for Bryson to communicate with his family; he felt shut out from his world overnight and was suddenly forced to rely on lipreading, which is a guessing game that often yields only 10-40% accuracy depending on the individual’s hearing spectrum.
Fortunately, Deaf Action Center was easy to find on Google, and one of Bryson’s family members reached out to us with their concerns. We immediately sprang into action to support Bryson and his family. We assured them that hospitals and doctors' offices are just as much required to accommodate a late-deafened person (an individual who loses their hearing as an adult) with Communication Access at Realtime Transcription (CART) as they are for those who use sign language interpreters.
CART allows deaf or late-deafened individuals whose primary mode of communication is a spoken language, most commonly English or Spanish in the United States, to follow a spoken dialogue by reading it on a screen. During Bryson's pre-op appointment, a certified CART writer transcribed everything that was being said in the meeting so that Bryson was able to fully participate. Though many people have seen sign language interpreters on TV and at public events, many do not realize that CART services are also an option for those who do not use sign language.
Bryson was able to advocate for his needs, communicate with his surgical team, and empower himself despite his fear of communication issues during his surgery, which he says was a success. Deaf Action Center continues to support him as he works to regain his confidence in his ability to communicate with his newfound deafness.