Communication Partnerships

Our third seminar series focused on the role of communication partners and how hearing care professional can integrate them into the rehabilitation process. The seminars took place at Skodsborg, Denmark, in November 2009, January 2010, and March 2010.

During the seminar, we explored hearing loss as a shared, communication issue rather than a problem that must be dealt with at an individual level. For this reason, we adopted the term communication partners to refer to all individuals affected by a person’s hearing loss. The term highlights the fact that hearing loss affects more than just a person’s hearing. It impacts the ability for people to communicate and to relate to others in their social network. As such, hearing loss can have a profound effect on spouses, family members, friends, and work colleagues. These individuals are often the first to notice that an individual has a hearing loss and often the driving force behind a person with hearing loss seeking help.

Seminar participants also reflected on the important role of communication partnerships and the value of focusing on communication challenges rather than hearing problems. By using the term communication partnerships, one stresses the need to view hearing loss as a shared challenge that must be addressed and managed by both sides of the partnership. The seminar explored ways in which hearing care professionals can include family and friends in the rehabilitation process in a positive way.

The tools developed through this collaborative process include the Communication Rings, Goal Sharing for Partners, and the Communication Partner Journey. The tools enable hearing care professionals to identify the client’s most important communication partners and to incorporate them into the rehabilitation process. In this way, the tools help hearing care professionals develop a shared, goal-setting strategy for rehabilitation that involves the person with hearing loss and their most important communication partners.

Seminar Lectures

Costs and benefits of change

Psychologist Sam Trychin, PhD, provides an overview of the costs and benefits of change and how they impact the client experience.

People with hearing loss and their partners

Dafydd Stephens, an audiological physician and honorary professor of audiological medicine. explores the communication experiences of people with hearing loss and their partners.

Engaging communication partnerships

Joseph Montano, Chief of Audiology at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center, talks about engaging communication partnerships and resolving the communication mismatch dilemma. 


Louise Hickson

Ida Advisory Board chairman Louise Hickson discusses the importance of engaging communication partners in the rehabilitation process.

Sam Trychin

Faculty member Sam Trychin discusses the importance of viewing and addressing hearing loss as a systems issue.

Seema Patel

Audiologist Seema Patel sees the importance of involving communication partners in the rehabilitation process.