Third-Party Disability in Spouses of Older People With Hearing Impairment Hearing impairment is the most common communication disability in older people. The wide-ranging impact of hearing impairment means that not only does the person with hearing impairment experience the consequences, but his or her frequent communication partners do also. In this article, the authors discuss the impact of hearing impairment ... Article
Article  |   October 2011
Third-Party Disability in Spouses of Older People With Hearing Impairment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nerina A. Scarinci
    Communication Disability Centre, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of QueenslandQueensland, Australia
  • Louise M. Hickson
    Communication Disability Centre, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of QueenslandQueensland, Australia
  • Linda E. Worrall
    Communication Disability Centre, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of QueenslandQueensland, Australia
  • © 2011 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Article Information
Hearing Disorders / Audiologic / Aural Rehabilitation / Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Articles
Article   |   October 2011
Third-Party Disability in Spouses of Older People With Hearing Impairment
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, October 2011, Vol. 18, 3-12. doi:10.1044/arii18.1.3
SIG 7 Perspectives on Aural Rehabilitation and Its Instrumentation, October 2011, Vol. 18, 3-12. doi:10.1044/arii18.1.3

Hearing impairment is the most common communication disability in older people. The wide-ranging impact of hearing impairment means that not only does the person with hearing impairment experience the consequences, but his or her frequent communication partners do also. In this article, the authors discuss the impact of hearing impairment in older people on spouses with normal hearing using the conceptualization of “third-party disability” created by members of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2001, p. 251). Results of a series of studies conducted by the authors demonstrate that spouses experience a range of activity limitations and participation restrictions due to their partner’s hearing impairment, including a variety of stresses involving lifestyle changes, communication difficulties, and emotional consequences. In this article, the authors highlight the important role of family-centered intervention in audiologic rehabilitation for older adults and emphasize the need to increase inclusion of spouses and significant others in the rehabilitation process.

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