Exploring the Lived Experiences of British Sign Language (BSL) Users who access NHS Adult Hearing Aid Clinics: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis

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Abstract

Objective: To explore the lived experiences of culturally Deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users who access adult hearing aid services.
Design: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted in BSL by the Deaf researcher and analysed using an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach.
Study sample: Eight Deaf BSL expert informants who were experienced users of NHS adult hearing aid clinics.
Results: Participants expressed dissatisfaction about audiology staff’s lack of Deaf awareness and did not feel valued as Deaf signers. Participants’ motivations for hearing aid use primarily concerned audibility rather than speech. Mismatch of perspectives on ‘hearing’ between audiologists and Deaf patients are discussed in the context of culturally sensitive services. Inadequate or uncertain linguistic access during appointments is considered in light of patient agency.
Conclusion: This is the first study to explore culturally Deaf signers’ specific experiences of adult hearing aid services in the UK and their experiences of hearing aids. There are numerous reasons why Deaf signers wear hearing aids, but access to spoken language is not a priority. Limited Deaf awareness and cultural competence in adult hearing aid services can result in patient frustration and disempowerment. Suggestions for improvement in the Deaf signing patient experience are offered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Volume61
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • British Sign Language (BSL)
  • Audiology
  • Hearing Aids
  • Patient Experience
  • Cultural Competence

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