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Hearing confirms existence and identity--experiences from persons with presbyacusis

, : Hearing confirms existence and identity--experiences from persons with presbyacusis. International Journal of Audiology 42(2): 106-115

The purpose of the present qualitative study was to describe how elderly persons with presbyacusis experience living with that type of hearing loss. The ultimate goal is for these experiences to be used in personal-adjustment counselling in audiological rehabilitation. The study included seven men and seven women with mild-to-moderate hearing impairment of the typical presbyacusis type. Open-ended interviews were conducted with each person. The interviewees were analysed according to the phenomenographic approach, and 10 categories emerged: 'Conversation takes away or maintains identity', 'It's other people's fault that I can't hear', 'Other people make you realize you can't hear', 'Society makes you think you shouldn't mind about your hearing loss', 'It's natural to hear badly when you are old', 'You should hear well all your life', 'You want to keep a feeling of continuity in your daily life in spite of your hearing loss', 'You don't need to hear everything', 'You want to hear so you feel that you're alive', and 'You want to hear so you understand and keep yourself informed'. All these categories deal with identity or existence and form the basis for how the hearing impairment is experienced and managed. The subjects protected their identity in various ways, but above all by blaming their poor hearing on old age, and managing it with simple everyday strategies that did not break the feeling of continuity in everyday life. Not until they experienced the lack of sound as a lack of contact with life was there any interest in help in the form of hearing technology. There is a need for information about the possibility of rehabilitating presbyacusis, as hearing is important not only for communication and spatial orientation, but also as affirmation of our existence as human beings.


PMID: 12641393

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