A growing collection of research in a variety of chronic conditions demonstrates that patient empowerment is linked to positive health outcomes. However, the intersection of hearing loss and empowerment has received little research attention, even though the chronic nature of hearing loss indicates that the positive outcomes would also be seen in this context.
ORCA Europe’s work in this area evolved from the need for an empirically-driven definition of empowerment tailored to the hearing patient journey. From qualitative interviews, we scoped and confirmed that knowledge, strategies and skills, participation, control, and confidence are relevant dimensions of empowerment along the hearing patient journey. We are currently undertaking further mixed methods research in this area in order to find ways of measuring these constructs, to explore how they manifest in people’s everyday lives, and to research the ways that hearing care professionals also interact with these dimensions.
The goal of this work as a whole is to understand empowerment along the hearing health journey in order to be able to support this process from holistic, rehabilitative, and clinical perspectives.