Acquired Hearing Loss: Psychological and Psychosocial Implications

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Academic Press, 1984 - Social Science - 215 pages
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Although one-sixth of the adult population acquire a hearing disability its effects have hitherto received little attention in the literature. This work constitutes an important first step in remedying the neglect there has been of postlingual hearing loss. The volume describes the first systematic attempt to obtain an understanding of the effect of hearing loss on psychological well-being and on family, social and work life. Topics covered include a review of existing knowledge, the implication of hearing loss in paranoid mental states, the relationship of audiological to psychological and psychosocial variables for all types and degrees of hearing loss, the handicapping nature of severe sensorineural hearing loss and the effects on normally hearing members of a family. Such a study draws many conclusions for the rehabilitation of adults with acquired hearing loss and will be vital reading for audiologists, hearing therapists, speech and hearing scientists, psychologists, psychiatrists and those therapists concerned with community medicine, and for social workers who come into regular contact with the hearing impaired. FROM THE PREFACE: One sixth of the adult population of Britain acquires a significant hearing loss in adult life. Very little is known about the disorder or about the effect that it has on people's lives. During recent years, however, a certain amount of reserch on acquired hearing loss has been initiated. The purpose of this book is to fill a gap in this research by describing what I believe to be the first-ever systematic investigation into the psychological and psychosocial effects of acquired hearing loss in adults of working age. In particular, this book examines the effect of hearing loss on mental health and psychological well-being, work, family, and social life. It then relates findings in these areas to audiological variables such as onset, type and degree of hearing loss, speech comprehension, and the amount of benefit obtained from a hearing aid. Implications for rehabilitation are also considered. Indeed, given that the book focusses on people who have owned a hearing aid for at least a year, it can also be viewed as an evaluation of existing rehabilitation services. It is hoped that the book will prove useful for those whose professional work brings them into contact with the hearing impaired, and for social scientists, researchers, and members of the caring professions who want to know more about what it means to live with a communication disability. FROM THE FOREWORD: In the four decades since World War II, a number of important studies have been made of the psychological and psychosocial consequences of prelingual hearing loss. Despite the fact that individuals with acquired, postlingual hearing loss are at least 100 times more common, they have hitherto been neglected. Alan Thomas's monograph constitutes an important first step in remedying this neglect. The differences between the two groups are worth considering. The prelingual group in many ways constitutes a distinct subset of the population, differing markedly in their means of communication, and so has attracted the interest of psychologists and linguists for theoretical as well as practical reasons. Those with hearing loss acquired after development of language are merely the general population with a blunted auditory input, a view supported by the findings of the two studies reported in this book. It is to be expected, therefore, that the changes to be found will be far more subtle. What is surprising is the degree of psychological change found in certain of the present groups--ranging from 18 to 19% in the basic study groups to 57% in one subset--compared with 5% in a normally hearing control group. The reasons for this aspect of handicap are examined and discussed at considerable length, with much detail provided of other aspects of handicap experienced by these hearing-impaired individuals. The

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