Living Well: Special Stethoscope for Hard of Hearing Nurse


CONWAY, Ark. – The stethoscope is a very important piece of equipment for a nurse, and technology is changing the quality of life for one nurse who is hard of hearing. It’s made her rounds around the hospital more efficient.

When Clarissa Hardman has on her special stethoscope, it may look like she’s listening to music, but it’s far from it.

She’s the first person patients see to get their vitals checked in the operating room.

Clarissa admits that when she started her nursing career, it presented its challenges.

But she has since proven she can do the job at Baptist Health in Conway.

“I almost wanted to hide my deficit because I didn’t want people to think, well she can’t do this or she can’t hear that,” she says.

When Clarissa was a child, doctors diagnosed her with Alport Syndrome, which led to on-set hearing loss. After that happened, she still listened to her heart and found her calling to become a nurse.

“While I could hear just fine with a regular stethoscope, just having to take it out every single time, I mean we go through gloves and working in the emergency room in trauma, you have to move quick,” she explains.

Using a regular stethoscope was timely and inconvenient. Clarissa puts on new gloves and removes her hearing aids to use the stethoscope. Once finished, she uses a new pair of gloves to put her hearing aids back in.

“This one is so sensitive and it’s so great and loud, I have it on the lowest setting,” she says.

Clarissa applied for the “Smile and Nod Grant” to receive a highly advanced stethoscope for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“In my 15 years in nursing, this is the most confident I’ve ever felt,” she adds.

And you can’t compare that feeling to the first time she used her new stethoscope on a patient.

“I kind of feel bad for that patient because it was probably like a 10 minute assessment. I was just listening and smiling, listening and smiling. And they were fine. Of course I had to like say ‘oh I’m not hearing anything bad, I’m just hearing’ ha!,” Clarissa continues.

Hearing the clear and loud sounds of organs is life-changing for her.

Clarissa is now shining a light on new technology and is inspired to send the sound waves to others who are like her.

“Nothing can stop you from what you want to do,” she encourages.

Clarissa hopes to be an advocate for children with hearing loss.

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