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Escaping a silent world: profound hearing loss, cochlear implants and household interaction

Blackwell Publishing
Publication Date
  • Communication
  • Economics


For some people with profound hearing loss, cochlear implants offer a way back to patterns of communication that most of us take for granted. Travel, shopping and work contexts are largely dependent on the ability to recognize and respond to speech. This study examined implant user and partner perspectives on problems and coping strategies. The aim was to map the experiences of adults and their hearing partners living with deafness; and the changes brought about by cochlear implant use. Information was gathered by means of recorded joint interviews in a semi-structured form with implant users and their partners. Interview themes including social isolation, employment difficulties and loss of confidence emerged as main difficulties prior to implantation. All participants were positive regarding the use of cochlear implants and, after implantation, benefits accrued in communication and social interaction. Provision of multidisciplinary support and consumer information for severe/profoundly hearing impaired adults was seen as problematic. Sample size – six couples – reflected the limited number of adult cochlear implant operations performed in Scotland. However, the results indicate their interactional experiences to be worthy of further investigation on a larger scale.

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