Recent studies on hearing rehabilitation with group discussions show similar long-term benefits as conventional professional counselling (Abrams et al., 2002; Hickson et al., 2007). The use of professional support for self-help via Internet may reduce anxiety and depression (Andersson et al., 2005). Inspired by those results, we created an online discussion forum for self-help where 29 experienced hearing-aid users communicated, on their own for five weeks. Each week they started the discussions from a given topic, without any professional assistance. We measured their reported subjective hearing problems online using standardized questionnaires (HHIE, IOI-HA and SADL) pre and post the online intervention. The findings show that the participants reduced their reported subjective hearing problems significantly by taking part in the discussions. Six months after the online intervention was finished the significant reduction was persistent.
By using manifest qualitative content analysis of the participants’ online communication we will present results including typical categories and themes in the discussions, as well as peer-to-peer helping behavior.
The findings indicates that interacting with peers have a positive significant effect on the long-term outcome of their hearing rehabilitation. Further development of this tool could be a very useful instrument in the rehabilitation of hearing impaired adults.
References: Abrams, H., Chisholm., T. H., McArdle, R. (2002). A cost-utility analysis of adults group audiologic rehabilitation: Are the benefits worth the cost? Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 5, 549-558.
Andersson, G., Bergström, J., Carlbring, P., Lindefors, N. (2005). The use of internet in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Current opinion in Psychiatry, 18, 73-77.
Hickson, L., Worrall, L., Scarinci, N. (2007). A randomized controlled trial evaluating the Active Communication Education program for older people with hearing impairment. Ear and Hearing, 28, 212-230.
Ballerup: The Danavox Jubilee Foundation , 2009.
International Symposium on Auditory and Audiological Research, ISAAR, 26-28 August 2009, Helsingor, Denmark