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J Laryngol Otol. 2012 May;126(5):475-81. doi: 10.1017/S0022215111003197. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

The 'patient journey' of adults with sudden-onset acquired hearing impairment: a pilot study.

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  • 1Centre for Long Term and Chronic Conditions, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Swansea, United Kingdom.



A previous study examined the 'patient journey' of adults with gradual-onset acquired hearing impairment. This study examined the same for adults with sudden-onset acquired hearing impairment, and assessed differences.


Data were collected from 16 audiologists, using the Ida Institute template, and from four adults with sudden-onset acquired hearing impairment, through semi-structured interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis and presented using a process mapping model.


A patient journey template for sudden-onset acquired hearing impairment was developed based on the professionals' and patients' perspectives. The main difference between these two groups' perspectives was seen in the self-evaluation phase: some stages within this phase were recognised by the patients but not by the professionals. The main difference between the current and the previous study was the absence of a pre-awareness phase in the journey described by patients with sudden-onset acquired hearing impairment, compared with that described by patients with gradual-onset acquired hearing impairment.


Patient journey templates could be useful counselling tools for ear and hearing healthcare specialists. However, such templates should be used only as a baseline; it is important to take a detailed case history to understand each patient's unique experience, including the psychosocial impact of hearing impairment.

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