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Authors suggest there is little evidence that hearing technology addresses patients’ emotional concerns related to their lived experience of hearing and communication difficulty. The study explores the notion of audiologic counselling and discusses the role of audiologists in supporting the emotional needs of people with hearing loss, focusing on UK audiology. A total of 64 audiologists were surveyed and asked to consider how they address patients’ hearing, social and emotional needs. The group was asked to define the term, ‘counselling’ in their professional context. Interestingly, several respondents were either unsure or reported on the importance of the notion of counselling, rather than offer a definition of the term itself. Three themes emerge regarding audiologists’ perception of their role. The doer provides help and undertakes activities such as information giving and non-technological supplements to technological solutions. The facilitator empowers the patient, in essence, the help to help oneself. Partnering with the patient relates directly to concepts of shared decision making in practice to reach desired goals or solutions to reported problems and difficulties. Respondents also reported greater confidence in discussing hearing-related, rather than social, emotional, and mental health matters; a confidence that relates to information giving in counselling approach, which mirrors the concept of informational counselling identified in similar studies. Barriers to addressing social, emotional, and mental health matters cited by UK audiologists were a lack of time and skill, and paucity of access to specialist supervision and training. Consequently, clinicians may feel that emotional health matters stray beyond their clinical realm and scope. Interestingly this study suggests clinicians feel these matters are within their scope of practice and recognise their importance. However, training needs exceed what is currently available to them.

Do UK audiologists feel able to address the hearing, social and emotional needs of their adult patients with hearing loss?
Woodward E, Saunders G.
2023;1–8 [ePub ahead of print].
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Charlotte Rogers

BSc Healthcare Science (Audiology), Allied Health Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester.

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