ORIGINAL ARTICLE
LOOKING FOR A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE: CHARACTERISTICS AND EXPECTATIONS OF AUSTRALIANS ON A WAITLIST FOR A HEARING ASSISTANCE DOG
Jordan Drewitt Smith 1, C-F  
,   Carlie Driscoll 1, A-F  
,   Nancy A Pachana 2, A,D-F  
 
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1
School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, Australia
2
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia
A - Research concept and design; B - Collection and/or assembly of data; C - Data analysis and interpretation; D - Writing the article; E - Critical revision of the article; F - Final approval of article;
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Carlie Driscoll   

School of Health & Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Queensland, -, 4072, Brisbane, Australia
Submission date: 2020-04-21
Final revision date: 2020-06-30
Acceptance date: 2020-06-30
Publication date: 2020-08-24
 
J Hear Sci 2020;10(2):40–54
 
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TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Background:
Hearing assistance dogs not only alert their hearing-impaired owners to environmental sounds but may also improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, audiologists rarely recommend this service, potentially due to a dearth of associated literature. This study explores the demographic and audiological characteristics, general health, socio-emotional functioning, and expectations of persons seeking a hearing dog.

Material and methods:
This prospective cohort study of 23 respondents from the 2019 Australian Lions hearing dog waitlist utilized a written survey method.

Results:
Respondents were predominately female (78%), financially stable (91%), had previous pet ownership experience (91%), a self-reported severe/profound sensorineural hearing loss (92%), and were regular hearing device users (87%). Respondents reported substantial social and emotional limitations. Overall, the health function of respondents was below that of the general population. Social function was also comparatively impaired. Most respondents strongly agreed that the hearing dog should be “a companion” and “a living thing to love.”

Conclusions:
Respondents were demographically varied but were regular hearing-device users, with significant social, emotional, and health limitations. In addition to being alerted to environmental sounds, respondents expected the hearing dog to serve a broad socio-emotional function.

eISSN:2084-3127
ISSN:2083-389X