Until very recently, aural rehabilitation programs designed specifically for workers with occupational hearing loss were nonexistent in the Province of Quebec. A pilot study has been conducted to test and develop suitable services for these workers and their spouses, and to explore the factors causing them to seek (or on the other hand, avoid) professional assistance. A trial rehablitation program was set up for this purpose. Results of a questionnaire conducted among program participants showed that the main factors leading to enrollment in the program were the acknowledgement of moderate or severe hearing handicap and the recognition of the need for help (particularly with problems such as tinnitus and stress, and in using strategies to facilitate communication). These results lend support to the idea of adopting a new approach to rehabilitation services for occupational hearing loss workers. According to the findings of the study, only a very small percentage of workers and spouses participated in the rehabilitation program, despite measures taken to adapt it to their needs. Low enrollment in the rehabilitation program suggests the need for: (1) a more well-defined target population, (2) strategies to promote greater understanding, awareness, and acceptance of hearing handicap on the part of occupational hearing loss workers and peoples surrounding them, (3) education at the work place and in society in general to increase motivation and awareness of the benefits of aural rehablitation services, (4) integration of the program within the general health program in the work place, (5) measures to enhance the credibility of professionals in the rehabilitation services, (6) general and specific programs and follow-up services, and (7) more accessible services.
© Williams & Wilkins 1988. All Rights Reserved.