An Exploratory Study of Older Peoples' Experiences of Acquired Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Use

Prof Doc Thesis

House, Vicky 2003. An Exploratory Study of Older Peoples' Experiences of Acquired Hearing Loss and Hearing Aid Use. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsHouse, Vicky
TypeProf Doc Thesis

The provision of hearing aids is a central component in the rehabilitation of individuals
who have acquired a hearing impairment, and costs the NHS a significant sum each year.
However, there exist concerns that a large proportion of hearing aids are not used
regularly. Given that acquired hearing impairment rises in prevalence in later life, and
that research indicates that older people make less use of the hearing aids they are
prescribed, it seems important to explore the factors limiting hearing aid use in older
Previous researchers have examined a range of variables hypothesised to mediate the
relationship between amount of hearing aid use and age. However, few have considered
how values about the meaning and management of ageing might contextualise the
experience of acquired hearing impairment in later life, and impact on hearing aid use.
This study uses an interview format and qualitative analysis to explore the interplay
between experiences of acquired hearing impairment, hearing aid use and ageing in a
sample of older people. The main themes drawn from the data are 1) that hearing
impairment is widely constructed as a problem of 'old age', and 2) that decisions about
how to manage hearing problems are reflective of values about how to manage ageing
and the threat of stigma. Amongst the recommendations made are that professionals
should recognise the complexities of managing self- and social-identity for older peoplewith hearing impairments, and should move away from measuring 'successful' hearing
management in terms of hours of hearing aid use.

Publication dates
PrintAug 2003
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Jun 2014
Additional information

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