Barriers In Communication

essay B

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

The environment in which communication takes place can impact or act as a barrier in effective communication. Setting, noise levels, seating arrangement, lighting, space and time available can all impact on communication. Setting People who use care services interact with care practitioners in their own home, community places, such as doctors, care homes for the elderly and hospitals. If the setting is very busy, there will be little privacy and communication may be affected. The person might not feel comfortable talking about personal situations in a public place like a restaurant or high street.

But, if the person can talk in private without other people being able to listen in, interpersonal interaction and effective communication will be more effective. Likewise, people may have few opportunities to communicate in domestic and residential places that don’t have comfortable spaces. So to overcome this it is important to make sure care environments have private spaces as well as shared public areas, so everyone can get the privacy they need. The strategies are being used in health and social care environments. There are private places as well as communal rooms depending on the type of environment.

This is a good idea as people can get the privacy they need as in a doctors for example or can be sociable and communicate with others in communal rooms. Although, in some places, there might not be a private or quiet place to go to discuss things, like in a busy hospital with no free rooms, which would not help communicating effectively. I think having private and communal rooms is a good strategy as it helps people be more sociable and helps keep privacy in the private rooms. Noise A lot of noise, either within the area or background noise from outside, can be a barrier in effective communication.

Background noise, from televisions or from traffic for example, can make communication difficult for someone with a hearing impairment. This can affect the use of hearing aids as they pick up the background noise and amplify it. This can make it the same level of volume as the person they are trying to communicate with. Background noise can also affect a person’s concentration. They could lose track of what they were talking about or the person receiving the message might not get every word and therefore not understand what the person is saying.

To overcome this, the people speaking, for example a doctor and patient, should be in a quiet room with no background noise and should speak loudly to drown out the background noise if any. These strategies are being used in health and social care environments. GP practices have quiet rooms with no background noise so communication is received effectively. Although, in hospitals this is not always the case as the background noise can outweigh the foreground. I think this is a good strategy, although needs to be taken into consideration more.

Space Space in the room, physical space and personal space can have an impact on communication. The way in which space is used varies depending on the environment. For example, in a residential care home, there are usually communal rooms where people can meet to talk and watch T. V. Although, there will also be other rooms so people can have their own personal space when needed, or a private space when talking to someone about personal subjects. People can be restricted by poor use of space. Planning the use of a space can encourage communication along with other factors in the room, such as furniture and decor.

To overcome this barrier, rooms should be carefully planned out to use the space as efficiently as possible. And ensuring the right amount of space is used in the right environment. This strategy is being put into place in health and social care environments. When in a doctors, the space is used wisely. The chairs are opposite each other, but there is a desk so the care user still has their personal space. And medical instruments are out of sight so they do not frighten the person. Although, in hospitals, the space is not always used as effectively.

The waiting rooms can feel cramped and take away a person’s privacy, like when the reception is near the waiting room, others can hear what is wrong. I think this is a good strategy to go by as it has the right amount of personal space when needed. Seating The seating arrangement in a room can impact interpersonal interaction and effective communication. Seating organised in rows or around the outside of the room is less likely to encourage communication than if the seats were in groups. Seating in a room should bring people into a close proximity and make them feel closer to the other people in the group and promote eye contact.

Although, the seats should not be too close as this can make the room feel cramped. In a doctors, the seats are usually opposite each other. This promotes eye contact, and being able to see facial expressions easier. But the seats shouldn’t be too close that they invade the patient’s personal space and make them feel uncomfortable. To overcome this barrier, depending on the circumstance, seats should be positioned fairly close to encourage effective communication. But not close enough to invade the person’s proximity. These strategies are being used.

Seating arrangements in doctor’s rooms, the seats are usually opposite. This brings the doctor down to your level instead of making them seem superior. It gives a better chance to look at non-verbal communication such as eye contact and body language. Although, in some cases, in waiting patient rooms, seats are cramped which takes away your proximity. I think having the seats opposite in a doctor-patient situation is a good idea as it helps it feel like a closer bond. Lighting The quality of lighting in a person’s home, residential home, doctors or hospital may affect communication.

Dark rooms make it difficult to pick up facial expressions and body language which is important if the person has a disability or sensory impairment. Although, a bright glare from sun shining or standing next to or in front of a bright light source can obscure a person’s face. People with a hearing impairment find it difficult to communicate with poor lighting as it decreases their ability to lip read and pick up non-verbal aspects of communication. People with poor eye sight find it hard to communicate in poor lighting as it obscures the face further.

To overcome this barrier, the lighting needs to be right depending on the needs of the person. The light shouldn’t be too bright, but light enough to be able to see the other person/people. This strategy is being used. Lighting in doctors are bright enough for you to see facial expression and body language. They aren’t gloomy to make you think negative things. And they are not too bright to distort the doctor’s face. Although, in hospitals, sometimes the lighting is too bright. This makes it feel as though people can see your problem and takes away privacy and makes you feel uncomfortable.

I think this is a great strategy as it makes facial expressions and body language more clear, especially for those with impairments. Time The time available for interpersonal interaction and communication can be a barrier in effective communication. For example, in a doctors, if they are behind time, there will be a time limit. This can restrict the quality of communication. The patient may need to tell the doctor things faster than usual and might not get through everything they needed to discuss. Therefore, the patient may not get all the care they need.

Similarly, when having a meeting, there might be a time limit on the room or places other people need to be. This means the team will not get through all the agenda or they had to rush through it without the detail needed. To overcome this, there should be a timed schedule to make sure that the time is used wisely and correctly. And that everything that needs to be done is done within these time limits. This strategy is not being used as effectively as it could be. Time is limited in doctors if they are behind schedule. This means the patient can’t explain fully what the problem is and the doctor might not prescribe the correct treatment.

This strategy could be used a lot more effectively, making sure the time slots are as needed. I think a schedule is a good strategy to use if it is kept to effectively, otherwise it will not work. Psychological Issues Psychological issues can be a barrier in communication. Personality, subject and self-esteem are all related to psychological issues. The subject being talked about might be a hard one for that person to talk about, for example in a counselling session or child and residential care homes. The subject could have negative connotations attached to it. This could upset the participant.

The person could have had a bad experience related to that subject and therefore do not feel comfortable talking about it. A person’s personality can majorly affect communication. Someone with low self-esteem or those experiencing anxiety or depression can feel threatened and be incapable of dealing with some of the challenges that they could face. Lack of confidence, negative thoughts and a bad mood can all affect a person’s ability to communicate effectively. To overcome these, the person should build up a supportive relationship, for example in a doctors to make the patient feel more comfortable.

Focus on positive aspects of the persons thoughts to boost their self-esteem, for example in counselling. Encourage the person to plan their lives; this will help take their mind of negative past issues. And maintain confidentiality to support the person’s privacy. This strategy is being put to use. Doctors build up strong bonds with patients to make them feel relaxed and empathise in the problem. Although, sometimes doctors rush the problems so the relationship with the patient is not as strong as it could be.

I think these are good strategies and should be used more effectively to make patients feel relaxed. Drugs and alcohol can also affect a person’s personality. People may not be able to understand the messages being sent to them. This could be hard in a hospital for instance, if a patient has something wrong but cannot communicate effectively, the doctor or nurse will not be able to find out what is wrong with them. This can lead the person to be frustrated and lead to aggression. Drugs and alcohol can change a person’s personality and make them submissive and aggressive.

This can be overcome by using simple and clear language, using a calm tone and slow pace, ensuring that the person under the influence isn’t using threatening non-verbal communication and paying close attention to the non-verbal communication. These strategies are used in health and social care environments. Doctors for example try to communicate with those under the influence as clearly as possible. I think it’s a good strategy if it is used correctly, if not things could get out of hand. Cultural Differences Cultural differences can be a barrier in communication.

This includes values, beliefs, language needs and assumptions. A person’s values and beliefs include their ideas about what’s important to them in life, how they should live and how others should behave around them and others. Some health and social care settings, like hospitals and schools, may have people whose values and beliefs differ from theirs. Differences in cultures could lead to misunderstandings. People from other cultures might assume things in a different way. For example, a Muslim woman having a male doctor is against her religion as a Muslim woman can’t be seen unveiled by anyone but her partner.

This could lead to misunderstandings, and the woman might assume something else is going to happen. A difference in values and beliefs can lead to failure to understand what someone is trying to tell them, it could also lead to conflict. Making assumptions based on stereotypes or publicity is not a good way. Developing an effective relationship, like care practitioners need to, will help understand the needs of the people using the care service. Assuming nearly always leads to misunderstandings which then become a barrier of communication.

They are a barrier because they prevent care workers from getting to know the people and not just the stereotypes. This can be overcome by learning about others values and beliefs, accepting diversity, respecting the individuals rights and being aware of your own values. These strategies are being used in health and social care. Health practitioners for example, take into consideration different religions, cultures and beliefs. I think it’s a good strategy as it helps avoid conflict and stereotyping. Language needs can also be a barrier in effective communication. Most people have a preferred language.

Being aware of people’s preference and adapting communication, for example translators, will improve communication with those of a different language background. The way a person talks in general can also become a barrier. Strong accents, dialect, jargon or slang can make English seem very difficult to someone who is not from the same background or someone who speaks only little English. This can make messages misunderstood. Some people, like some care practitioners, assume that everyone can understand English are making assumptions, and therefore are not prepared for other cultural differences.

To overcome this language barrier you need to find out the preferred language or method of communication, as some prefer sign language for example. Use your non-verbal skills in a clear manner if the language is different, and clarify the meaning of any technical words like in hospitals for example. Also, providing multi-lingual signposts and having translators or translating technology at hand will help with language differences. Some of these strategies are being used. Interpreters are available for those who need them, although almost every sign post and leaflet is in English.

This is a good strategy to use as it can avoid a lot of misunderstandings. Barriers are also associated with cultural variation. Situations can occur when some care practitioners for example do not take into consideration other peoples cultures. So if care practitioners make an assumption about diet, personal care, sleeping arrangements and health, they risk exposing their cultural beliefs on someone who does not have the same view. A person’s cultural background can affect their understanding of verbal and non-verbal communication.

Failing to respond to cultural variation can lead to misunderstandings and the wrong assumptions. You can overcome this by, developing knowledge of cultural variations, with regards to behaviour like eye contact and proximity, checking cultural meanings of non-verbal messages you receive, being aware of the way you use verbal and non-verbal messages and making sure you don’t make inappropriate assumptions. These strategies are being used in health and social. Different cultures are taken into consideration and seen as the same as everyone else. They are respected.

Although, sometimes misunderstandings occur over different cultures, as the person has not acknowledged there beliefs. I think these are good strategies as they avoid misunderstandings but need to be taken into consideration more. Use And Abuse Of Power Some people are of a higher, more powerful position than others. For example, a doctor and patient. The doctor is in a much more powerful position. They get to know about the care users personal circumstances and problems. Also, people receiving care are usually more vulnerable and emotional. The power imbalance could be misused to dominate, bully and abuse the people they care for.

This will make communication less effective because the user may feel frightened and intimidated, the user’s self-esteem may be damaged, and the users who are dominated can’t make their own choices or make sure they have their rights. To overcome this barrier, the superior person needs to respect the other person’s rights and identity, the inferior person making their own choices and controlling their own lives as much as they are capable of, using verbal and non-verbal communication appropriately, asking permission before doing anything and maintaining confidentiality when wished.

People feel more confident about talking about personal issues if they a reassured about confidentiality. These strategies are usually being used. Although, sometimes superiors can take advantage, which can lead to a breakdown of communication. I think these are good strategies but they do need to be used more often. Disability Disability can majorly affect good communication. This can be sensory impairments like visual, hearing and speech, and many more disabilities like autism and cerebral palsy.

If someone has a hearing impairment, their ability to hear verbal communication will either be not very good or non-existent. This will affect communication in a big way. To overcome this, the person needs to find out the others preferred way of communicating. This could be through lip reading, hand gestures, facial expressions, writing, and cue cards. They then need to adapt to be able to follow this method. Visual impairments make it hard for the person to use non-verbal communication methods as the person may find it difficult or impossible to see them.

Therefore, the person needs to use tone of voice, pitch and clarity to communicate effectively. Also, taking into consideration if they prefer Braille to talking, if it is a personal situation. To overcome this, again the preferred method needs to be taken into consideration and used. For disabilities like autism and cerebral palsy, the persons involved might have a preferred method of communicating. This can range from being verbal and non-verbal. And speaking clearly and slowly, using no jargon to get the message across and understood. Again the preferred method should be taken into consideration.

Applying to overcoming all of these, they should ask what aids they may need, whether it is Braille letters or hearing aids, and ensuring the environment is appropriate by checking lighting, background noise and seating, as these could majorly impact someone with a disability. These strategies are being used in health and social care settings. People with disabilities are asked their preferred methods and they are put into use. This is a really good strategy to overcoming the barrier of disability. It helps the person feel more respected and helps them to be able to communicate effectively.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member
unlock