Insights from the experiences of older people with hearing impairment in the United Kingdom: recommendations for nurse-led rehabilitation

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Aims and objectives.This study aims to explore, and develop a greater understanding of the experience of living with age-related hearing impairment from the perspectives of older people themselves to highlight possible recommendations for the improvement of hearing aid (HA) services and rehabilitation.Background.Hearing impairment (HI) is one of the most common chronic conditions affecting older people. HI can have a huge impact on a wide variety of life factors including physical, mental and social health and can lead to a reduction in quality of life. With the current ageing population, the numbers living with hearing impairment in old age is likely to increase. Currently, the diagnosis of hearing impairment in older people can be slow with individuals living with hearing impairment for around 10 years before being diagnosed.Methods.The research utilises a descriptive qualitative method in the form of descriptive thematic analysis. Findings are reported from semi-structured interviews with nine participants with self-reported HI, aged 61–93.Results.Themes include; the loss itself, communication, using HAs, isolation, and coping strategies.Conclusions and implications for practice.The results highlight the need for early diagnosis of HI and the development of nurse-led rehabilitation strategies and support services that address the felt stigma and potentially isolating experiences of older people with HI.

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