Paid Support Workers for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities; Their Current Knowledge of Hearing Loss and Future Training Needs

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Abstract

Background

People with intellectual disabilities are more likely to have hearing loss than the general population. For those unable to self-advocate, the responsibility of detection and management falls to their caregivers.

Methods

This is the first cycle of a project using action research methodology to improve services. Twenty care workers were interviewed to understand their knowledge of hearing loss and hearing aids. Themes were generated using thematic analysis.

Findings

This group was better qualified than their peers but received minimal training in hearing loss. They were unable to accurately estimate expected prevalence and had a negative perception of hearing aids. Only 7% of service users were known to have hearing loss.

Conclusions

Current training is not sufficient to provide the skills for detection and management of hearing problems. This group had clear ideas on methods of learning. Working in collaboration is necessary to achieve long-term change to practice.

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