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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

URI Speech and Hearing Clinics seeking individuals for study on satisfaction with hearing aids

URI study will examine communication between clinician, client

KINGSTON, R.I. -- February 16, 2000 -- Hear ye! Hear Ye! The University of Rhode Island Speech and Hearing Clinics in Kingston and Providence are seeking individuals who wish to participate in a study designed to improve satisfaction of those who use hearing aids.

As part of the study, researchers are offering compensation to individuals who are accepted into the study. For information, call 401-874-5969, or 401-874-4292 to arrange an appointment. Appointments are available at either the Kingston clinic in Adams Hall on Butterfield Road or the Providence clinic at the URI Providence Campus on Washington Street.

The study is geared toward finding out why people turn off their hearing aids and whether better communication with clinicians will address the problems.

Jay Singer, associate professor and department chair of the URI Department of Communicative Disorders, and Dana Kovarsky, assistant professor communicative disorders, are conducting the study.

"We are looking at how service delivery can be improved for people who wear hearing aids," Kovarsky said.

In the first phase, begun about a year ago, Kovarsky said he and Singer conducted a small group interview with adults who had previously had their hearing tested and hearing aids fitted. They were asked how they were doing with the hearing aids in everyday situations.

"Initially, the group reported that they were satisfied with the hearing aids," Kovarsky said. "But we also discovered, in keeping with literature we had read, that problems developed and up to one-third of the group had turned off their hearing aids within a year.

"We need to address the misunderstanding about what hearing aid technology can do," Kovarsky said.

Kovarsky said during the current phase, the discussions between the clinicians and hearing aid users will be videotaped, transcribed and analyzed.

"We want to see where the communication breakdown is," Kovarsky said.

Those participating can take advantage of discounts on hearings aids at the clinic where prices are already well below market rates.

"We want people to continue to use hearing aids over time," said Elizabeth Connors, clinic director. "Ultimately, we'd like the hearing aid customer to be a more satisfied customer. We are trying to help people with hearing loss enjoy and take advantage of social situations, which they might otherwise avoid."


For Further Information: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


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