Talking ‘cognition’ in the audiology clinic*

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According to health care guidelines, audiology consultations need to deal with several dimensions of hearing impairment, one of these being cognition, others having to do with social conduct, physiological or technological aspects. In this paper, it is investigated whether and how, then, audiologists and patients talk cognition in to being. A corpus of videorecorded audiology consultations is examined using ethnomethodological conversation analysis. The analysis shows that patients’ concerns regarding their hearing are evaluated in terms of being either treatable or not. This issue of treatability seems to urge audiologists to focus on technical and physiological aspects. Systematically, the audiology consultations seem to be sequentially organized in a way that does not give space for patients to talk about hearing aid performance in relation to social conduct and cognitive functioning. This means that treatment is based on what is regarded as normal (treatable) by physiological and technological standards rather than based on what hearing with hearing aids means for the patients’ social conduct and thereby their appearence as competent members of society.


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