The social representation of different phenomena has generated strong interest among researchers recently. The social representation of ‘hearing loss’ is different in different countries such as India, Iran, Portugal, and the UK, as was evidenced in previous research. This study was based on the same data set and was the continuation of the previous study concerning the discussed topic. The authors were interested in investigating how demographic characteristics may influence social representation of hearing loss. In order to achieve this, the data for four countries were combined and qualitative content analyses followed by cluster analyses were performed. Five clusters were recognised; individual aspects, aetiology, the surrounding society, limitations and exposed. It was found that the level of education and country of origin are both related to four clusters. The level of education was related to individual aspects, the surrounding society, limitation and exposed while country origin was related to aetiology, the surrounding society, limitation and exposed . Additionally, it was found that the clusters formed two different cluster groups which are related with biological and societal factors respectively. The results also highlight the importance of communication while considering hearing problems as communication factors were found in both groups of clusters. Surprisingly, the authors found that Asian participants are more associated with the biological cluster groups compared to the European participants who mostly belonged to the social cluster group. These findings are not in accordance with previous studies, however, the authors indicated that this might result from differences between participants in both studies. This study is helping the understanding of the perception of hearing loss, which is crucial when considering how to resolve issues related with hearing problems on the wider scale.

Patterns in the social representation of “hearing loss” across countries: how do demographic factors influence this representation?
Germundsson P, Manchaiah V, Ratinaud P, et al.
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Joanna Lemanska

Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK.

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