Supporting Work Life Involvement of Hearing Impaired People.
The use of hearing aids, as well as different flexible work arrangements, can considerably
enhance the involvement in work life of hearing impaired people. This study describes and
analyses factors that hinder or alleviate the use of hearing aids in the actual work
environment in which they are used. Through case studies of 12 individual hearing aid
users at work, the study investigates what additional solutions are available for hearing aid
users at the workplace, and how employers and occupational health care providers have
taken into account the possibility that they may have hearing impaired employees.
As a factor of the usability of hearing aids, the study investigates the equal opportunities
of these people to participate in work life and social interaction at the workplace. It
analyses situations in which the ability to communicate is a central prerequisite of work
performance. In a longitudinal setting, the study maps out ways of managing such
situations and the possible changes achieved through the use of hearing aids. It also
describes ways in which employers and occupational health care providers can support the
involvement in work life of hearing impaired people. The data consist of questionnaires,
video-recordings of situations at the workplace, and interviews. The short-term outcome of
the use of hearing aids for well-being at work is evaluated with validated measures. The
video-recordings are analysed using conversation analysis.
As a result of the study, training materials on existing and possible support mechanisms
for the involvement in work life of the hearing impaired are prepared for employers and
providers of occupational health care. The results will be available in the fall 2013.
Principal Investigator: Johanna Ruusuvuori (PhD, Adjunct Professor, Senior Researcher)
Researcher: Inka Koskela (MA, Graduate Student, Researcher)
Experts involved:
Päivi Husman, Research Theme Leader, cooperation between occupational health and
employers
Nina Nevala, Team Leader, support of work life involvement of disabled people, ergonomy
Pirjo Juvonen-Posti, Expert on rehabilitation medicine and rehabilitation solutions
Site of research:
Finnish Institute of Occupational Health
Funding:
Finnish Work Environment Fund