Magdalena Zabielska* and Magda Żelazowska-Sobczyk**
*Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, **University of Warsaw
”Hearing aids and cochlear implants – A study of the discourse of patients’ English ENT online support forums.”
Lay medical language (Kokkinakis – Toporowska-Gronostaj 2006) tends to be simplified, to use non-specialised terminology, to be more emotional, and to resort to references to the experience of everyday life. Although ample research exists on the discourse of various thematic online (support) groups, the present authors know of no linguistic study of online communication among people with hearing impairment/loss. The goal of the present paper is to describe the main features of patients’ language as used in English ear, nose, and throat (ENT) support forums about hearing impairment/loss. These increasingly popular forums (Dosani et al. 2014; Neda et al. 2017) are spaces where patients and their families discuss particular medical conditions and treatment methods, as well as their own experiences. In doing so, they thus search thereby for both information and support (Karimi et al. 2011). The study shows that the lay language about hearing impairment/loss seems particularly emotional and the focus is on explaining specialist issues, which may prove to be useful, especially from the doctor’s perspective, the co-communicator in the doctor-patient dyad (Brown et al. 1997; Dobson 2003; Shoaib et al. 2016).
Keywords: computer-mediated communication, online group, support, emotionality, ENT forum, hearing loss/impairment.