8 Tips on How to Talk to a Doctor Who Doesn’t Seem to Be Listening

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There are few things more frustrating than dealing with a serious health problem and having a doctor who doesn’t seem to be listening. But in addition to being discouraging, it can also lead to incorrect diagnoses and delays in treatment. If your doctor just doesn’t seem to be paying attention, try these techniques to get them to slow down and listen up.

8. Make a Plan

Before you head into the doctor’s office, know what you’re going to say. Plan and rehearse it beforehand so that the stress of being at the clinic or hospital doesn’t cause you to make mistakes. If you can lay everything out in a clear, concise way, your doctor is more likely to hear and understand all of your symptoms and concerns.

7. Focus On the Most Important Points First

Sometimes the big issues can get buried in an avalanche of small concerns. While even minor symptoms can be important, try to focus on the biggest ones first. After you address those, you can bring up more subtle symptoms and smaller issues. This gets your doctor to pay attention and can help them better understand what is going on.

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6. Be Understanding About Interruptions

As you speak, your doctor may interrupt you. While this can be interpreted as impatience, it is often to get clarification or to possibly shed some light on what you’re experiencing. Try to be mindful of why your doctor is interrupting you, and work with them to figure out what exactly is going on.

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5. But Also, Be Persistent

Even well-meaning interruptions can cause you to get off track and miss out on addressing important concerns. Don’t be afraid to keep redirecting the conversation back to your primary worries. Remember, it’s important to be your own advocate.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Give Specific Examples

Rather than just listing symptoms, it can be helpful to let your doctor understand why those symptoms worry you so much. Don’t be afraid to shed some light on how they affect you personally. Use specific examples, such as explaining that back pain is making it difficult for you to sit for long periods at work. This approach provides valuable information and helps your doctor better understand you.

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3. Ask Questions

Asking your doctor for additional information is a great way to get them to slow down and listen, plus it helps you understand your treatment better. This approach turns treatment decisions into more of a dialogue, rather than a lecture. It can also help you bring up some of your concerns, such as asking if your symptoms could be a side effect of another medication.

2. Point Out Lack Of Attention

If all else fails, don’t be afraid to simply speak up and ask your doctor to listen to you. Be assertive, but don’t be rude or aggressive. Try asking if they need you to wait while they finish looking over your chart, or if you should reschedule for a day where they have more time.

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1. Know When To Walk Away

Sticking with a doctor who can’t slow down could become an exercise in futility. If you have tried everything and still don’t feel like you’re being heard, it’s time to start looking for a new doctor. After all, there are plenty out there who will take the time and listen to you.

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No one knows your body better than you do, so it’s important for your doctor to listen to your concerns. In an ideal world, every doctor would already do that by default, but sometimes, they simply get overworked. Hopefully, these communication strategies can help get them to listen to you. And if not, you’ll know what to do.

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