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The arrival of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to the United States in early 2020 disrupted traditional clinical services and care. Health care institutions largely focused on managing the surge of COVID-19 patients while minimizing the risk of exposure and spread to those without the virus. To protect clinicians and patients, institutions mandated personal protective equipment for everyone, implemented visitation restrictions that bar visitors from assisting their loved ones in medical settings, and eliminated in-person medical interpreters. These safeguards jeopardize the ability of the 17% of all US adults with a hearing loss to effectively communicate with their clinicians,1 thus impeding their quality of care.
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Corresponding Author: Michael M. McKee, MD, MPH, University of Michigan Medical School, Department of Family, 1018 Fuller St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published Online: July 16, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2020.1705
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
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