News Release

REF NO.: 87

SUBJECT: Exploring the impact of hearing loss in rural Newfoundland

DATE: July 30, 2019

Memorial University researchers are exploring better ways of addressing the impact of hearing loss on home and community life in Central and Western Newfoundland.
The project, Realizing the Benefits of Group Aural Rehabilitation in Rural Newfoundland: An Innovative Knowledge Translation Approach to Improve Outcome for Hearing Loss in a Specific Rural Sub-culture, recently received funding to hold group learning sessions.
The researchers are inviting people with hearing loss in rural Newfoundland to participate in three group aural rehabilitation sessions to determine if attending the sessions leads to a change in participants’ knowledge, confidence and readiness to take action related to their hearing loss.
The principal researcher for the project is Anne Griffin, an audiologist and research lab associate with the Faculty of Medicine who works in the hearing division of the Genomic-Based Research and Development Centre for Health.
Ms. Griffin says hearing loss is a complex disability to treat effectively. “It is not as simple as just getting hearing aids. The quantity and quality of sound people have to work with can be highly variable. The challenges of the variable listening environments require different strategies and sometimes additional technology,” she said. “Other people are very much affected by this disability, which can be a huge challenge for couples, for parents and children, and for friends because it can present such barriers to communicating and enjoying activities together.”    
There is evidence, however, that group learning sessions can be very helpful to those with hearing loss and their close friends and family.
Three workshops will be offered in Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook on hearing loss in relationships, reducing hearing barriers to community participation, and becoming knowledgeable about hearing technology. 
Funding for the project is provided by the Ida Institute, a non-profit organization based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The institute helps hearing care professionals around the world focus on the issues most important to people with hearing loss and their communication partners. The workshops will feature methods and tools developed by the Ida Institute. 
The Canadian Hard of Hearing Association, the Aging Research Centre of Newfoundland and Labrador and local health professionals will also assist in the promotion and delivery of the sessions.
The workshops, which will be delivered this summer and fall, are free of charge, hearing accessible and open to adults of any age. If you are interested in receiving more information, or registering for any of these workshops, please call 709-489-0243, or email Ms. Griffin at anne.griffin@med.mun.ca or co-investigator Taylor Burt at tvburt@grenfell.mun.ca.

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