Focusing on the largest and, arguably, the least visible disability group, the hearing impaired, this paper explores present-day views and understandings of hearing impairment and rehabilitation in a Danish context, with particular focus on working-age adults with late onset of hearing impairment. The paper shows how recent changes in perception of the hearing impaired patient relate to the introduction of a new health care reform that turns audiological rehabilitation into a consumer issue. Ethnographic and interview data from hearing clinics provides evidence that the hearing technologies that are on offer stabilise in specific forms through processes of negotiation among a variety of social actors representing the interests of science, industry, government, and hearing-impaired people. The discussion critically considers the emergence of an ‘‘informed consumer’’ in audiological practices.
Health Care Analysis, 2013
Choice, Consumerism, Empowerment, Hearing technologies, Health research