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Barriers to the use of health services among deaf and hard of hearing adults in Greece: a Cross-Sectional Study

Dialechti Tsimpida, Daphne Kaitelidou, Petros Galanis


Rationale, Aims and Objectives: To explore the issues related to the use of health services by deaf and hard of hearing adults in Greece.

Method: The study population consisted of 140 adults with hearing loss (86 deaf and 54 hard of hearing). We gathered information about sociodemographic characteristics, use of health services characteristics, satisfaction from health providers and complaints during the use of health services.

Results: A considerable percentage of the participants did not make appropriate use of healthcare services, as they made avoidable visits to emergency departments even for minor, short-term conditions (p=0.002) or used to just wait for the symptoms to pass in an illness occurrence (p=0.06). They also experienced major difficulties as part of the health visit (p=0.01) and the quality of communication with health providers (p=0.002). The absence of assistive technology, along with the lack of low availability of Sign Language interpreters, were important barriers for those that communicate in Sign Language. Regarding the engagement with healthcare providers, there were high rates of dissatisfaction from doctors, nurses and receptionists related to issues during the use of health services.

Conclusions: Our results underscore the fact that deaf and hard of hearing persons constitute a minority population that experience major barriers during the use of health services and considerable difficulties in the healthcare provider-patient relationship. In light of these findings, a special effort must be made to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing individuals receive appropriate, ethical and person-centered healthcare.


Deaf, doctor-patient communication, hard of hearing, hearing health inequalities, person-centered healthcare, use of health services

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