Why won't my doctor listen to me?

Joane Goodroe

My doctor is not listening to me...many other people feel the same way. When diagnostic tests, like lab work and x-rays, do not demonstrate a problem, many times the patient is feeling one thing and the physician has checked-off the problems. This is a difficult time for a patient. There are several things to do.

  • Bring someone with you who can help communicate your concerns.
  • Write down your thoughts and stay on topic.
  • Consider seeing another physician.
Don't give up. There are many things in medicine that still are not understood.

What do you mean when you say your doctor won’t listen to you? Do you feel like your doctor is not paying attention to you? Is your doctor giving you answers you don’t want to hear? Is your doctor too abrupt, cerebral, rude, interruptive?

It truly may be that your doctor is not listening to you in which case I suggest you find another doctor. Or, it may be that you have different communication styles. Studies prove that most people, including doctors, retain less than half of what is being said.  That doesn't bode well for a 10 or 15 minute appointment.  Try to be organized in listing out your symptoms as succinctly as possible. Be brief and concise, stating just the facts.

Doctors are not only hearing your words, but they are also observing you physically to begin their assessment process. Patients do better with physicians they like and trust and with whom they can communicate. If you are not comfortable with your doctor, or continue to feel that you are not being listened to, please find another doctor.  The relationship with your doctor is too important. 

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Communication between the patient and the physician is critical for appropriate medical and surgical management. It is essential that the doctor listen to the patient's concern, questions, and review all diagnostic and clinical findings. As a board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, it absolutely Essential for my patients to open express their desires, concerns and expectations. Consider a new doctor should he or she refuse to listen to you.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Research shows that a majority of the population, women especially, feel that their doctors don't listen to them.

In this video, Dr. Oz and author Christiane Northrup discuss how women should be their own health advocates.

Continue Learning about Talking To Your Doctor

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.