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More than any other workplace, operating rooms require precise communication, and that communication is confounded by a host of factors, commented one surgeon. People are focused on their specific task, like keeping a patient asleep or anticipating an instrument. Everyone has a mask on. And staff may be hearing-impaired themselves. There’s also music and background noise from machines — even occasionally power tools.

Once given the offer to try out the “HearHook” system, one surgical team clipped the receivers on their masks and put the hooks over their ears and “I loved it,” said the same surgeon. “I could hear anyone on the team whisper if they wanted to. When the circulator (nurse) went into the sterile core to fetch something, I could say we don’t want that drain. We want the other drain. Or while you’re there.”

And, he noted, it helped create a more professional environment by reducing nonessential communication. It was also more user-friendly than other technology on the market, he said, adding “It creates an environment where the patient can get the best operation possible.”