Communication Partners

What are the benefits?

  • Increase hearing aid up-take through family involvement
  • Get more successful, long-term outcomes
  • Get additional information about the person's hearing loss
  • Help the family improve communication
  • Structure the discussion and set attainable goals together
  • Research-based

Why these tools?

Hearing loss affects more than just the client. By involving communication partners such as family members, you learn more about your client’s experiences with hearing loss and make the communication partner an ally in their rehabilitation. People with hearing loss with support from communication partners are more likely to try hearing aids and see more successful outcomes.

The Communication Partner tools are designed to help you structure the conversation. Together with the person with hearing loss and communication partner, you can set attainable goals and plan how to reach them. A stronger partnership between the three of you will result in better, more person-centered care for clients and their families. The tools are based on research supporting goal-planning.

Third-Party Disability

Communication partners play an important role in a person with hearing loss’s rehabilitation, but CPs may have issues of their own that needs addressing. Partners of persons with hearing loss often experience third-party disability in that their lives and ability to function are impacted by their partners’ hearing loss. For example, a PHL avoiding a social situation affects their communication partner, who might also avoid social situations in order to stay with their spouse. Research has shown that communication partners actually report more problems with psychosocial issues related to communication than the PHLs. Thus addressing the way hearing loss is affecting the communication partner can motivate the PHL to take action their hearing loss.

Read more about third-party disability here.

Louise Hickson, Head of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and Co-Director of the Communication Disability Centre at The University of Queensland, discusses the importance of engaging communication partners in the rehabilitation process.

The Tools

The Communication Rings will help you and the PHL identify who the most important communication partners are in his or her life.

Goal Sharing for Partners (GPS) brings a key communication partner into the session so the three of you can set attainable goals together and create a strategy to work towards them.

The Partner Journey is a parallel to the Patient Journey. This gives communication partners a visual way to express their own experiences with hearing loss.

A person's hearing loss is shared with friends and family. Involving communication partners in the PHL’s rehabilitation can make them constructive allies and bring new insight into the challenges and success the PHL may not even realize he or she has. There is also a therapeutic aspect to addressing communication difficulties as a team, because it’s not just a hearing loss, it’s a communication loss.

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