Publications by authors named "Tarja Aaltonen"

5 Publications

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Studies on stigma regarding hearing impairment and hearing aid use among adults of working age: a scoping review.

Disabil Rehabil 2021 02 8;43(3):436-446. Epub 2019 Jun 8.

Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.

Purpose: Research on stigma has been criticized for centering on the perceptions of individuals and their effect on social interactions rather than studying stigma as a dynamic and relational phenomenon as originally defined by Goffman. This review investigates whether and how stigma has been evaluated as a social process in the context of hearing impairment and hearing aid use.

Materials And Methods: Systematic literature searches were conducted within four major databases for peer-reviewed journal articles on hearing impairment and hearing aid rehabilitation. In these, 18 studies with stigma, shame or mental wellbeing as the primary research interest were identified. The reports were examined for their methodology, focus and results.

Results: The reviewed studies used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, questionnaires and interviews being the most common methods. All studies concentrated on the participants' experiences or views concerning stigma. Studies examining the social process of stigmatization were lacking. Most studies pointed out the negative effect of stigma on the use of hearing aids.

Conclusions: In order to understand the process of stigmatization, more studies using observational methods are needed. Moreover, additional research should also focus on how stigma as a social and relational phenomenon can be alleviated. IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Low adherence in hearing aid use is connected to fear of stigma related to hearing impairment and hearing aids. Hearing health services should include counseling to deal with individual's experiences and fear of stigma. Stigmatization is a social process that concerns individuals with hearing impairment in contact with their social environment. Hearing health professionals should consider including close relatives and/or partners of hearing impaired individuals in discussions of starting hearing aid rehabilitation. In consulting patients with hearing impairment professionals should give advice about how to deal with questions of hearing aid, hearing impairment and fear of stigma at work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2019.1622798DOI Listing
February 2021

Discussing Hearing Aid Rehabilitation at the Hearing Clinic: Patient Involvement in Deciding upon the Need for a Hearing Aid.

Health Commun 2020 08 30;35(9):1146-1161. Epub 2019 May 30.

Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki.

The quality of interaction between hearing health professionals and patients is one prominent, yet under-studied explanation for the low adherence in acquiring and using a hearing aid. This study describes two different ways of introducing hearing aid to the patients at their first visits at the hearing clinic: an inquiry asking patients opinion followed by offer, and an expert evaluation of the necessity of a hearing aid; and shows two different trajectories ensuing from these introductions. The trajectories represent two extreme ends of a continuum of practices of starting a discussion about hearing aid rehabilitation, in terms of how these practices affect patient participation in decision-making. The analysis shows how granting different degrees of deontic and epistemic rights to professionals and patients has different consequences with regard to the activity of reaching shared understanding on the treatment. The data consist of 17 video-recorded encounters at the hearing clinic. The method used is conversation analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2019.1620410DOI Listing
August 2020

Open-class repair initiations in conversations involving middle-aged hearing aid users with mild to moderate loss.

Int J Lang Commun Disord 2019 07 11;54(4):620-633. Epub 2019 Mar 11.

University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences, Tampere, Finland.

Background: To manage conversational breakdowns, individuals with hearing loss (HL) often have to request their interlocutors to repeat or clarify.

Aims: To examine how middle-aged hearing aid (HA) users manage conversational breakdowns by using open-class repair initiations (e.g., questions such as sorry, what and huh), and whether their use of repair initiations differs from their normally hearing interlocutors.

Methods & Procedures: Eighteen 45-64-year-old adults with acquired mild to moderate HL participated in the study. The participants were videotaped in everyday interactions at their homes and workplaces and in clinical encounters with hearing health professionals. Interactions were transcribed and open-class repair initiations of participants with HL and their interlocutors were identified using conversation analysis. The frequencies of initiations were analyzed statistically between the groups, and the contexts and structure of repair sequences dealing with communication breakdown were analyzed.

Outcomes & Results: Before acquiring HA the participants with HL reported intense use of open-class repair initiation. After HAs were acquired, there was no statistically significant difference in the frequency of open-class repair initiations between HA users and their interlocutors. The most common means for open-class repair initiation in the data was interrogative word mitä ('what'). Vocalization hä ('huh'), apologetic expression anteeksi ('sorry') and clausal initiations (e.g., 'what did you say'/'I didn't hear') occurred less often. Open-class repair initiations emerged in contexts where they typically occur in conversation, such as topical shifts, overlapping talk and action, background noise, and disagreements. When used, open-class repair initiations most often led to repetition by the interlocutor, which immediately repaired the conversational breakdown. Long clarification sequences with multiple repair initiations did not occur.

Conclusions & Implications: Participants with mild to moderate HL using hearing amplification initiate open-class repair similarly to their normally hearing conversational partners when the frequency, types, contexts and structure of repair are considered. The findings diminish the stigma related to HL, HAs and the use of open-class repair. The findings suggest that HA amplifies hearing successfully in everyday conversation when the level of HL is mild to moderate. However, the evidence for the benefit of HAs remains indirect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1460-6984.12466DOI Listing
July 2019

Dilemmatic group memberships of hard-of-hearing employees during the process of acquiring and adapting to the use of hearing aids.

Int J Rehabil Res 2016 Sep;39(3):226-33

aResearch and Service Centre for Occupational Health, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health bDepartment of Behavioural Sciences, Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Helsinki and cSchool of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere dSchool of Health Care, Tampere University of Applied Science, Tampere eDepartment of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, University of Turku, Turku, Finland.

We describe how hard-of-hearing (HOH) employees renegotiate both their existing and new group memberships when they acquire and begin to use hearing aids (HAs). Our research setting was longitudinal and we carried out a theory-informed qualitative analysis of multiple qualitative data. When an individual discovers that they have a hearing problem and acquire a HA, their group memberships undergo change. First, HOH employees need to start negotiating their relationship with the HOH group. Second, they need to consider whether they see themselves as members of the disabled or the nondisabled employee group. This negotiation tends to be context-bound, situational, and nonlinear as a process, involving a back-and-forth movement in the way in which HOH employees value different group memberships. The dilemmatic negotiation of new group memberships and the other social aspects involved in HA rehabilitation tend to remain invisible to rehabilitation professionals, occupational healthcare, and employers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/MRR.0000000000000173DOI Listing
September 2016

Halting aphasic interaction: creation of intersubjectivity and spousal relationship in situ.

Commun Med 2010 ;7(2):95-106

Department of Social Research, University of Tampere, Finland.

This article discusses a communicative phenomenon that is relatively less studied: getting stuck in an aphasic conversation. Although aphasia as a medical and linguistic condition has been widely examined, the more social and participatory aspects of the symptom are not so well-known. Aphasia forms a threat to the emergence of a shared understanding, as well as to the experience of being in the shared, i.e., in the intersubjective, social world. In our analysis, we closely explore how understanding is constructed in the sequential organization of conversation. We use two data corpora when analysing the halting interaction. In our data, we detected two kinds of interactive halts that emerged in connection with aphasic word searching. First, 'real halts' were caused by the aphasic person's inability to find correct words and the co-participants were also not able to resolve the problem. Second, 'exam halts' occurred when the co-participant did not provide the missing words despite knowing what the aphasic speaker was trying to say. We discuss how this halting phenomenon is linked with the notions of intersubjectivity and face-work and conclude that real halts are more directly caused by the aphasic condition, whereas exam halts reflect the spousal relationship in the form of face-work.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1558/cam.v7i2.95DOI Listing
November 2011
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