Stefanie Bumbacher

Hear I am

Providing Support and Guidance for People with Hearing Impairments

Project summary

This project explores how to support the inclusion of people with hearing impairments in Swiss society. The result is the design of an informative and educational booklet for people with hearing impairments to assist their process of learning to best live with the impairment.

The impact of hearing impairments

Hearing impairments affect more than a million people in Switzerland. People with hearing impairments suffer from the invisibility of the impairment, the stigma, and the missing knowledge and awareness around the topic. This impacts their health and well-being and has negative effects such as:

  • low self-esteem
  • feeling excluded
  • feeling like a burden
  • being stressed and unsure if one has understood everything
  • trying to hide the impairment

The proposed support strategy

The outcome of the project is the “Hear I am” booklet that aims to support people with hearing impairments to better navigate their learning process of living with the impairment. It emphasizes guiding people after their diagnosis. The booklet provides the most important information on hearing impairments, a list of supporting organizations and their offers, exchange opportunities, and training in self-awareness and resilience.

A participatory approach to tackle the issues

  • Talking with people to understand their experiences and find out the challenges and issues through ethnographic research.
  • Involve people in the process of developing ideas on how to address the issues by creating so-called co-design activities.
  • Generate a design strategy that addresses some of the challenges and issues. Test the design strategy with people and adapt it according to the feedback.

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