Empowering adults with hearing difficulties in the workforce
Hear@Work: Studies on the fundamentals and needs for a new eHealth tool aimed at empowering adults with hearing difficulties in the workforce
The Hear@Work project investigates the underlying fundamentals and needs for a new eHealth tool to empower workers with hearing impairment to manage their need for recovery after work, increasing the uptake of hearing aids, other listening devices, and workplace interventions. The project is an unique public-private partnership between academia and the world-renowned hearing aid manufacturer Sonova, enabling implementation of research in the workplace.
Approximately 12% of the Dutch adult population are living with some form of hearing loss; around 225.000 of working age. Hearing problems in the workplace have a significant impact on employee functioning. Employees with hearing impairment often report stress-related health problems, have greater need for post-work recovery and are more likely to become unfit for work and/or require more sick leave. Due to delayed retirement the number of hearing impaired workers will increase, thus creating more economic pressure on the healthcare systems. Although protocols with recommendations for vocational hearing rehabilitation have been produced, the access to these services and the uptake of hearing aids, other listening devices, and workplace interventions is suboptimal. Better awareness of hearing impairment in the workplace, and better implementation of tailored services and interventions are urgently needed. eHealth opens novel, promising opportunities for delivery of these services in terms of cost-efficiency, better access to care, and improving patient outcomes and satisfaction.
This research project explores possibilities for vocational hearing rehabilitation through eHealth. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop and design a concept eHealth tool that aims to empower employees with hearing impairments, and that is based on the needs of all stakeholders within the relevant environment. Deliverables of this project include (scientific) publications and presentations, professional and online communications, and training materials and sessions for hearing professionals. The Hear@Work project will be completed by a final symposium for all stakeholders.