Concessions in audiology

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Previous studies of clinical settings show that patients exhibit an orientation towards an institutional restriction against them proposing treatment solutions for their medical condition. In this paper we demonstrate how that restriction is relaxed in a particular clinical setting, that of audiology. Focusing on video-recorded interactions in a Danish audiology clinic, we show how patients freely offer suggestions for their own treatment, even in cases where a treatment solution has already been provided by the audiologist. We further illustrate how audiologists respond to patients’ treatment proposals with concessions, through which the audiologist manages to accept the patient’s treatment proposal as a possibility, while withholding any professional endorsement of the proposed treatment. Furthermore, we show how patients in response to such concessions from the audiologist pursue a stronger professional ratification of their treatment solution. The lifting of the restriction on patients proposing their own treatments thus brings into relief two other institutional restrictions within the audiology clinic: (a) a restriction on audiologists rejecting patients’ treatment suggestions outright, and (b) a restriction on patients’ straightforward acceptance of treatments that are not fully endorsed by the audiologist.


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