Experiences of hearing loss and views towards interventions to promote uptake of rehabilitation support among UK adults

Rolfeab, . & Gardner, C. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 5 July 2016

Objective: Effective hearing loss rehabilitation support options are available. Yet, people often experience delays in receiving rehabilitation support. This study aimed to document support-seeking experiences among a sample of UK adults with hearing loss, and views towards potential strategies to increase rehabilitation support uptake. People with hearing loss were interviewed about their experiences of seeking support, and responses to hypothetical intervention strategies, including public awareness campaigns, a training programme for health professionals, and a national hearing screening programme.

Design: Semi-structured qualitative interview design with thematic analysis.

Study sample: Twenty-two people with hearing loss, aged 66–88.

Results: Three themes, representing barriers to receiving rehabilitation support and potential areas for intervention, were identified: making the journey from realization to readiness, combatting social stigma, and accessing appropriate services. Barriers to receiving support mostly focused on appraisal of hearing loss symptoms. Interventions enabling symptom appraisal, such as routine screening, or demonstrating how to raise the topic effectively with a loved one, were welcomed.

Conclusions: Interventions to facilitate realization of hearing loss should be prioritized. Raising awareness of the symptoms and prevalence of hearing loss may help people to identify hearing problems and reduce stigma, in turn increasing hearing loss acceptance.

Read the abstract here

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