Employment is considered one of the major life areas. An increasing number of individuals with hearing loss are seeking help with occupational problems and need individualized employment supports.
This paper describes a recently developed vocational enablement protocol (VEP) addressing the specific needs of those with hearing loss in the workforce.
The setting was an Audiological Center in a University Medical Center, in Amsterdam.
The study sample include 86 patients with hearing loss aged 19-64 years.
Data from the VEP was collected and discussed in a board multidisciplinary team.
Vocational enablement protocol (VEP)
evaluation of the work situation and problems from both the patient's and the professionals perspective, including an assessment of the auditory demands at the workplace</li>
diagnostic examination of the individual's auditory profile
assessment of the an individual's coping abilities
an examination of the workplace
recommendations for an enablement plan an options available
Implementation of the recommendations
There was no control or comparison condition.
Recommendations were made by the multidisciplinary team in the following areas: hearing aid (re)fitting, communication training, environmental modifications, psychosocial counseling, assistive listening devices, re-delegation of assignments, restructuring of time schedules, further medical examination, occupations retraining, hearing protection.
This program may be regarded as a step forward in the management of people with hearing loss who experience problems as work, but there is still room for improvement. There is no scientific evidence available for the effectiveness and efficiency of the recommendations proposed.