Hearing Loss Research

‘Development of an audiologist-administered psychologically-informed intervention to improve mental health and wellbeing in adults with hearing loss’

University of Melbourne, VIC
Awarded 2017

Co-funded by the Rotary Club of Terrigal


Dr Caitlin Bar and A/Professor Christina Bryant Supervisors:

The second phase will use these findings to inform the development of an appropriate audiologist-administered psychologically-informed intervention (e.g. self-help take-home material, counselling protocol etc.). A feasibility study will be conducted to determine the practicality of the intervention within a clinical setting and pilot its effectiveness.

Project Summary

Hearing loss significantly hinders communication ability; can be detrimental to familial, social and professional relationships, and  ltimately lead to social isolation. Not surprisingly then, research has shown strong associations between hearing loss and reduced mental health and wellbeing. Devices that improve hearing ability, like hearing aids, somewhat help to improve communication ability, but research shows that significant mental health and wellbeing challenges remain. What is not known is how hearing care professionals (audiologists) can provide services, beyond hearing devices, that improve mental health and wellbeing related to hearing loss. This project aims to explore how hearing care services can be provided in a way that more effectively addresses mental health and wellbeing, beyond hearing devices, in order to optimise the wellbeing of older adults with hearing loss and their families. The study will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will use interviews to explore older adults’ views of their mental wellbeing throughout their experience of hearing care. Audiologists will also be surveyed about their experiences discussing mental health with their patients and their preparedness for providing a psychologically-informed intervention.
Researcher Profile

Emma has also worked as a research assistant at Cochlear Limited where she has conducted assessments of cochlear implant recipients for a number of studies.

Emma Laird is a PhD candidate in The School of Audiology and Speech Pathology at the University of Melbourne. Her field of research incorporates her experience in both audiology and psychology. Emma Laird graduated from a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) at Monash University in 2011 and a Master of Clinical Audiology at the University of Melbourne in 2016. Her thesis investigated cochlear implantation outcomes in patients treated with radiation therapy for head and neck cancers.