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Study reveals how hearing loss affects patients partners too

Friday 13th October 2017
Audiologists should do more to involve the partners of patients with hearing loss in discussions about their rehabilitation. Image: AntonioGuillem via iStock
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Hearing loss can be just as frustrating for the partners of people who are affected by a decline in hearing function as it is for the deaf individual themselves.

This is the conclusion of a recent study carried out by researchers at the University of Nottingham, who analysed more than 70 previous papers on hearing loss to assess the impact on people's partners.

They identified several key areas that are a cause for frustration for the partners of those with hearing loss, which included always having to be the one that answers the phone, struggling to find a volume on the TV that suits both of them and having to relay conversations in social situations.

In addition, partners reported that there was little support available to assist them in coping with these changes and in how to best help their partners, which often left them feeling lost.

Venessa Vas, the PhD student who led the study, commented: "Hearing loss is a chronic condition that affects the whole family. Yet, to our knowledge, our work represents the first attempt to piece together a picture of the effect of hearing loss from the perspectives of people with hearing loss and their partners.

"Family members have a strong interest in being involved and sharing their experiences of the patient's hearing loss. However, they are typically discounted by the audiologist."

With these findings in mind, audiologists should start to include partners in discussions about hearing loss management more frequently to make sure there is a solution that suits the whole family.

Statistics suggest that some 300 million people across the globe suffer from hearing loss, which means there are a lot of husbands, wives, partners, children, friends and colleagues who would find this extra support from audiologists beneficial.

The study has been published in the journal Trends in Hearing and was supported by the National Institute of Health Research and the Nottingham Biomedical Research Centre.

Written by James Puckle

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