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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Help-seeking for advanced rehabilitation by adults with hearing loss : an ecological model Dillon Edgett, Lisa Michelle


Hearing loss affects the lives of many individuals, making communication difficult and often negatively influencing family, social, and occupational relationships, and selfimage. The aim of hearing rehabilitation is the reduction of communication problems encountered by individuals with hearing loss. While participants highly value group hearing rehabilitative programs, there is an underutilization of these rehabilitation services. This study explores help-seeking for advanced hearing rehabilitation by attempting to answer the research question 'what are the factors that prevent or promote individuals with hearing loss from seeking advanced rehabilitation in the form of group hearing rehabilitation'? Twenty individuals participated in this study. Seven participants reported on previous experience with a hearing rehabilitation program. The remaining individuals were invited to participate in a program as part of the study. Four participants declined to participate, seven completed the nine-week program, and two dropped out before the program was completed. For those who participated in the program, data were collected before, during, and after the program. Sources of data included one-to-one interview sessions, journal entries, and questionnaires. The research approach followed the principles of grounded theory, one tradition of qualitative research. A systematic analysis of the data led to a theoretical framework. Interview transcripts and journal entries were coded and the codes were grouped into categories. Five categories emerged from the data: understanding hearing loss, personal experience with hearing loss, interaction between the person with hearing loss and society, taking action, and reflections on rehabilitation experience. Each of these categories could a l so be considered a s responses to additional questions that emerged as the study progressed. Throughout these categories, three recurrent themes appeared: identity, challenge, and adjustment. These themes and categories were incorporated into the development of the core category as a model of ecological balance. The findings of this study indicate that participants' help-seeking involves an iterative process whereby identity is assessed , challenges are recognized, and adjustments are made to address the challenges. This model has implications for audiological practice based on the contribution it makes to our understanding of help-seeking behavior for hearing loss, in particular, and possibly other health issues more generally.

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