Date of Award

Fall 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Communication Sciences and Disorders

First Advisor

Krystal Werfel


The purpose of this study was to explore general health literacy, hearing loss health literacy, and confidence levels among SLPs with different levels of academic training and on-the-job experience related to hearing loss and to understand how SLPs felt their training and experience contributed to their hearing loss health literacy development. Across two aims, we evaluated predictors of SLPs’ hearing loss health literacy and SLP beliefs of how hearing loss health literacy is gained. The results from this study indicated that SLPs had high levels of general health literacy and but marginal to low levels of hearing loss health literacy. Neither academic training nor on-the-job experience were predictive of general health literacy, but they were predictive of knowledge hearing loss terminology. For the more in-depth content knowledge assessment of hearing loss health literacy, only on-the-job experience was predictive of score. There was an interaction of training and experience for self confidence levels in SLPs. SLPs with greater years of experience exhibited lower self-confidence with an increasing amount of coursework, whereas SLPs with fewer years of experience displayed higher self-confidence with an increasing amount of coursework. SLPs perceived that they believed they developed hearing loss health literacy through on-the-job experience more so than through academic coursework. Taken together, we conclude that the driving factor for development of hearing loss health literacy in SLPs is on-the-job experience. Methods of integrating experiential learning into academic training should be evaluated.


© 2024, Ellen Claire Cooper

Available for download on Wednesday, December 31, 2025