AuthorJacob, Daisey Thalia-Sánchez
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractObjective: To expand the access to culturally relevant hearing health services in a rural U.S. border community with already limited healthcare resources, community health workers (Promotoras de Salud) were trained to provide peer-facilitated hearing education classes. Design: A specialized three-phase training process for community health workers was developed, implemented, and evaluated. The training process included: 1) Focus groups with community health workers and residents from the community to raise awareness of hearing loss among community health workers and the community; 2) A 3-hour workshop training to introduce basic topics to prepare community health workers to identify signs of hearing loss among community members and utilize effective communication strategies; and 3) A 24-hour multi-session, interactive training over 6 weeks for community health workers who would become facilitators of educational and peer-support groups for individuals with hearing loss and family members. Study Sample: Twelve Spanish-speaking local community health workers employed by a federally qualified health center participated in a focus group, 12 received the general training, and four individuals with prior experience as health educators received further in-person training as facilitators of peer-education groups on hearing loss and communication. Results: Community health workers increased their knowledge base and confidence in effective communication strategies and developed skills in facilitating hearing education and peer support groups. Through case study practice, community health workers demonstrated competencies and applied their learning to specific situations related to effective communication with hearing loss, family support, assistive technology, use of hearing protection, and making referrals for hearing health care. Needs were identified for ongoing training in the area of assistive technology and addressing situations of more severe hearing loss. Conclusions: It is feasible to train community health workers to begin to address hearing loss and facilitate peer health education and support groups for individuals with hearing loss and their family members. In efforts to increase access to audiologic services in rural or hard-to-reach areas, application of the community health worker model with a partnership of audiologists deserves further consideration as a viable approach.
Degree ProgramGraduate College