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SoundSpace Online
The development of an online resource on hearing loss and its management
Zheng Yen Ng1, Sue Archbold1, Connie Mayer2, and Imran Mulla1
1 The Ear Foundation, Marjorie Sherman House, 83 Sherwin Road, Lenton, Nottingham, NG7 2FB, United Kingdom
2 York University, Faculty of Education, 260, Winters College, Keele Campus, Toronto, Canada
This project is supported by:
We would like to sincerely thank our advisers, funders, authors and all others who contributed to the website.
For more information, please contact: or
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of health information: the impact of the Internet and its implications for health care providers: findings from the first Health
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internet information for adults with hearing impairment and their significant others. International journal of audiology, 51(8),
Laplante-Lévesque, A., & Thorén, E. S. (2015). Readability of Internet information on hearing: Systematic literature
review. American Journal of Audiology, 24(3), 284-288.
Ng, Z. Y., Archbold, S., Mayer, C., & Mulla, I. (2015). SoundSpace Online: The Development of an Online Resource About
Hearing Loss. American Journal of Audiology, 24(3), 289-292.
Porter, A., & Edirippulige, S. (2007). Parents of deaf children seeking hearing loss-related information on the Internet: the
Australian experience. Journal Of Deaf Studies And Deaf Education, 12(4), 518-529.
Thoutenhoofd, E. D., Archbold, S. M., Gregory, S., Lutman, M. E., Nikolopoulos, T. P., & Sach, T. H. (2005). Paediatric
Cochlear Implantation: Evaluating Outcomes. Wiley Blackwell.
Zaidman-Zait, A., & Jamieson, J. R. (2004). Searching for cochlear implant information on the internet maze: Implications for
parents and professionals. Journal Of Deaf Studies And Deaf Education, 9(4), 413-426.
Part-financed by the European Regional
Development Fund (ERDF):
SoundSpace Online:
Is aimed to serve as a time- and cost-effective go-to resource with accurate, comprehensive and functional
information on hearing loss for those with hearing loss, their families, professionals and others interested;
Is an online resource containing information and resources in a range of areas, including research, audiology,
education, linguistics, psychology, medicine and many other areas of science;
Provides information that is hard for people to use or find and make it readily accessible: to ensure those with
hearing loss, their families, and professionals can find or be guided to the information and resources on the latest
technology and services to support them;
Is evidence-based and includes balanced evidence, containing the latest research information, and has
contributors who are international leaders in their fields and who bring their expertise to the sections;
Involves user and professional groups to provide input in the structure and content of the website, and serves as
a place for visitors to discuss issues, ask questions, make comments and/or suggestions on anything related to
hearing loss.
Full text
Introduction & Background
Hearing loss has a huge, unseen impact on communication, whether in childhood or in adulthood. Today’s
technology can transform this, but all too often good quality information is hard to find or hardly available.
Although the internet has been a growing source of health information (e.g. Hesse et al., 2005), the
information provided on hearing loss is often disseminated across a wide range of domains (Thoutenhoofd
et al., 2005), making access challenging to those who need it; both specialists and non-specialists.
Furthermore, the quality, readability and usability of internet information seems to be highly variable (e.g.
Laplante-Lévesque et al., 2012; Laplante-Lévesque & Thorén, 2015). In particular, studies involving hearing
loss have shown that the accessibility to the information is limited, and the information that is provided can
be insufficient (Porter & Edirippulige, 2007; Zaidman-Zait & Jamieson, 2004). Moreover, there seems to be
a need for interactive services such as feedback mechanisms and e-communities (Goslin & Elhassan,
2013). This is where SoundSpace Online comes in, to bring together the wide range of good quality
information and practical resources available on hearing loss, on the impact it has on the lives of deaf
children, young people and adults, and on its management (Ng, Archbold, Mayer & Mulla, 2015).
How is this website being developed?
The structure and content of the website is being developed, continuously reviewed and monitored by a
group including experts in e-learning, education, hearing loss, and research. Members of the target groups
were asked to discuss their needs and expectations, and after several reviews and iterations the current
structure was reached. The sections are being developed by experts including audiologists, teachers, speech
and language therapists, medical practitioners and researchers, who are specialized in the field of hearing
loss. The information will be controlled using measures of quality, readability and usability (incl.
accessibility). To encourage patient and public involvement (PPI), user and professional groups are being
asked to review the website.
Criteria for information inclusion:
Relevant to a range of countries/cultures;
Up-to-date, and regularly reviewed;
Evidence-based and containing balanced evidence;
Clear and easily accessible;
Highly functional.
Results & Discussion
Who will be able to use this website?
Those with hearing loss, their families and friends, and caregivers;
Those working with people who may have a hearing loss and their families, including audiologists,
teachers, speech and language therapists, researchers, otologists, ENT specialists, social workers for
the deaf, psychologists, classroom assistants;
Non-specialists, including policy makers, administrators and funders of services;
Any other person who may be interested to learn (more) about hearing loss;
SoundSpace Online is open to a national and international audience.
How is this website structured?
The homepage includes information on the content, those who will be able to use the website, user access
and those who supported the website. It also includes links to the eight sections that address a topic on
hearing loss (right part of top figure). The structure of the website involves eight sections (Level 1) which has
four subsections (Level 2), which in turn has three to six subsections (Level 3). These subsections lead to
one more set of subsections (Level 4), which next to information also includes relevant links to a sectional
resource page with references and tools (see bottom figures for example of levelling).
How can this website be accessed and used?
Access will be free to all for the first levels of each of the eight sections of the website, and additionally to all
levels of the first section on ‘Impact of Hearing Loss’. Access to Levels 3 and 4 will be by membership at a
reasonable rate. The purpose of this fee is to provide the resources to ensure website and content
sustainability, and will be kept as low as possible to provide equity of access.
The website is designed for flexible and functional use of multi-disciplinary information and resources on
hearing loss including overviews and recent developments, implications of hearing loss in daily life for those
of all ages, and current hearing technologies and their management. In addition, visitors of the website can
ask questions, make comments or suggestions at any point in time, with feedback to help and guide them.
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