Measurement of self-efficacy for social engagement in people with hearing loss

PhD student

Ms Eithne Heffernan

Supervisory team

Dr Melanie Ferguson
Dr Helen Henshaw
Dr Johanna Barry

Dr Neil Coulson

Funder

NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU programme

Study period

October 2013 - October 2016

Background and rationale: Hearing loss is a common condition, which impairs not only sensory functioning but also social engagement. Many people with hearing loss experience communication difficulties, which impedes their engagement in social areas, such as employment, education, recreation, community life and family life. Some people with hearing loss become socially isolated, which can have a substantial negative impact on their wellbeing.
It is therefore important to ensure that hearing loss interventions, such as hearing aids, improve not only audibility but also communication and social engagement. The aim of this study is to develop an outcome questionnaire that measures self-efficacy (i.e. self-confidence) for social engagement in people with hearing loss. This questionnaire could be used in either research or clinical practice to evaluate whether an intervention for hearing loss results in increased confidence to engage with others.

Methods: The first study of the PhD is a qualitative study. It will involve conducting semi-structured interviews with both people with hearing loss and hearing healthcare professionals about the influence of hearing loss on social engagement.

Future Directions: The second study of the PhD is a quantitative study, which will use the data gathered during the first study to inform the development of an outcome questionnaire that measures self-efficacy for social engagement in people with hearing loss. The study will evaluate the psychometric properties of the questionnaire, including its reliability and validity.