Facilitators and barriers to communication partner involvement in audiological rehabilitation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Background Communication partners play a significant part in encouraging their partners with hearing impairment to seek professional help (Armero, 2001; Carson, 2005; Donaldson, Worrall, & Hickson, 2004; Duijvestijn et al., 2003; Knudsen, Öberg, Nielsen, Naylor, & Kramer, 2010; Mahoney, Stephens, & Cadge, 1996). Little is understood about the facilitators and barriers to communication partner involvement in audiological rehabilitation. There are no known studies on the perceptions communication partners have of the factors affecting their participation in rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to determine the facilitators and barriers to communication partner involvement in audiological rehabilitation of a partner with hearing impairment. Method The audiograms of male partners with hearing impairment aged 60-80 years were checked for degree of hearing impairment. If the partner with hearing impairment met the inclusion criteria, his female communication partner aged 60-80 years completed a hearing test. Eight communication partners, who had pure tone air-conduction thresholds of no more than 40 Decibel Hearing Level (dB HL) at any of the frequencies 500 Hertz (Hz), 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, and 4000 Hz bilaterally, completed an interview. A phenomenological methodology was used to analyse the interview data. Independent checking of accurate transcription, reflexivity (achieved through bracketing), triangulation, reporting direct quotations in results, and member checking were employed to increase credibility. Results Six facilitators and nine barriers to communication partner involvement in audiological rehabilitation were found. For some facilitators and barriers, there was strong agreement between the coded interview content and member checking. Social desirability bias may have impacted the member checking results for facilitators and barriers that violated social norms of how a “good couple” should behave. Conclusion The results from this study highlighted the facilitators and barriers to communication partner involvement in audiological rehabilitation. There was a wide variety of facilitators and barriers raised and there was individual variation in the responses of communication partners. I hope that clinicians will be able to use the results of this study to provide patient- and family-centred care to their patients that is appropriate in the context of each patient’s family relationship dynamics.