To better understand the hearing health learning needs of Hispanic/Latino adults by assessing hearing healthcare (HHC) knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors to inform the development of a culturally and linguistically appropriate self-management program. Through a series of focus groups with members of the target audience, this study explored knowledge about hearing loss and interventions, cultural facilitators and barriers to HHC utilization, and preferences for hearing health education and information delivery. Opinions were also received on patient education materials designed to increase self-efficacy for managing hearing loss in daily life.
This work was guided by a practical framework of culturally competent interventions for addressing disparities in health and healthcare, centered on structural, clinical, and organizational barriers to care. A hybrid individualistic social psychology and social constructionist approach was used to build programmatic theory related to the primary research objective. Focus group goals were to generate a combination of personal opinions and collective experiences from participants with an a priori plan to analyze data using combined content analysis/grounded theory methods. Purposive sampling was used to select 31 participants who were Spanish-speaking, identified as Hispanic/Latino, and who had normal hearing or self-reported hearing difficulties. Thirteen focus groups were conducted using Microsoft Teams, and each group was audio and video recorded for later off-line transcription, translation, and analysis. A constant comparison approach was used to systematically organize focus group data into a structured format for interpretation. Transcripts were coded independently by two investigators, and emergent themes were derived and interpreted from the coded data.
Major and minor themes tied to the framework for culturally competent interventions included those related to sociocultural barriers to care. Structural barriers, including inconsistent access to quality care, lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate patient education materials, appointment wait times and intake processes, and referrals to specialty care, were most frequently experienced by participants. Clinical barriers most frequently cited were a lack of culturally and linguistically congruent healthcare providers and lack of language access during healthcare visits. Other major themes included hearing loss lived experiences, family and familism, and hearing-related patient education needs and preferences.
Focus group results were integrated into a Spanish-language hearing loss self-management program that is currently being evaluated in a randomized controlled trial. The themes uncovered provided insight regarding the knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about hearing loss and HHC, including hearing-related learning needs, of Hispanic/Latino adults in this sample.