The experiences of elderly service users with regard to public audiology services in Ireland
O'Hehir, Caitlin Orna
Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
Background: As life expectancy increases, there is a corresponding increase in age-related conditions including deterioration of hearing acuity due to ageing (presbyacusis). Individuals with presbyacusis have been reported to exhibit depression, suffer social isolation and a decline in cognitive function. Recent research has identified multiple barriers, which influence hearing aid uptake, including inadequate audiological rehabilitation. What are the experiences of older service users with regard to public Audiology Services? There is no research currently available analysing the public Audiology care pathway for the older population in Ireland. Aim: This study aims to explore the experiences and views of older adults with hearing loss, who live alone, during their journey through the public Audiology Services i.e. from their direct referral to the follow-up appointment post hearing aid fitting. The research project was conducted in collaboration with a community partner Friendly Call Cork under the Community-based Academic Research Link (CARL) in University College Cork (UCC). Method: This study was a pilot study. In order to collect data, a mixed method research design was adopted. A latent thematic approach was used to analyse the qualitative data. The quantitative data was presented using tables. Results: The student researcher visited 5 members of Friendly Call Cork accompanied by a Volunteer who was already familiar to them. The members responded to the questions in the questionnaire during these home visits. The results revealed defined areas along the public Audiology care pathway which would support this vulnerable population: accessibility of services, advocacy, monitoring of onward referrals and patient progress. Conclusion: The findings highlight that older adults who live alone require specific and targeted supports including advocates, additional follow up appointments and counselling sessions.
Elderly service users , Friendly Call Cork , Public audiology services
O’Hehir, C. O. (2020) The experiences of elderly service users with regard to public audiology services in Ireland. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.