1 December 2020

New project will support inclusion of people with hearing loss

New grant

With support from THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS, a research project led by Inge Kryger Pedersen at the Department of Sociology will investigate how to strengthen communities for people with hearing loss by creating good social spaces in schools and workplaces.

Photo: Colourbox
Photo: Colourbox

Although new hearing technologies have made everyday life easier for people with complete or partial hearing loss, they still experience social challenges and lack of inclusion in schools and workplaces.

Now, researchers from the Department of Sociology and VIVE – The Danish Center for Social Science Research for Welfare, together with practitioners in the field, will investigate how certain social contexts, poor acoustics and noise in everyday spaces can hinder communication for people with hearing loss and lead to social isolation and communicative difficulties for users of hearing technologies.

The project will give professionals working in the field new tools to ensure social inclusion of hearing-impaired in schools and workplaces. Moreover, the project will provide guidance on how to improve physical spaces for people with hearing loss.

“It can be a communicative challenge for anyone who is participating in a teaching and working environment characterised by communication among many people, intense group and meeting activities, hectic information flows in open plan offices, classrooms and canteens with a lot of background noise as well as sound signals coming from electronic equipment. But for people with hearing loss it is even more of a challenge,” says Inge Kryger Pedersen, associate professor at the Department of Sociology, who is principal investigator on the new project.

Close collaboration with professionals

The project has been developed in close collaboration with The Danish Association of the Hard of Hearing as well as Frijsenborg Efterskole (a boarding school) and Castberggård Job- og Udviklingscenter & Højskole (a folk high school and adult education centre). The latter two have programmes and courses targeted hearing-impaired young people and adults, respectively.

Together with the researchers, they will focus on how the learning or work environments promote inclusion or work against it. With the use of video, observations as well as students’ and employees’ narratives, the project investigates spaces that support strong communities.

“The studies of informal, everyday situations will create and gather new knowledge that can be used to improve social spaces in schools and workplaces, but also result in concrete tools and recommendations. The ambition is to produce inclusion tools and methods in addition to recommendations for special arrangements that can help people with hearing loss in their daily communication and develop community and social cohesion,” says Inge Kryger Pedersen.

Read more about THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS' latest grants.