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De-stigmatizing products: making the hearing aid desirable

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Title: De-stigmatizing products: making the hearing aid desirable
Author(s): Youngquist, Anne M.
Advisor(s): McDonagh, Deana C.
Department / Program: Art & Design
Discipline: Art and Design
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: M.F.A.
Genre: Thesis
Subject(s): Hearing aids stigma disabilities urinary incontinence empathy
Abstract: Abstract Stigma in America creates heated controversy and is associated not only with people within defined social groups, but with a variety of products which are used daily. Many products (e.g. assistive walking devices, adult diapers and hearing aids) carry significant stigma, which prevents users from purchasing or using important assistive devices due to negative emotional responses. As people are living longer and experiencing more disabilities throughout an extended lifetime, designers need to be able to create products for users that are often outside their personal comfort zones. Products need to satisfy both the functional and emotional needs of the user to carry a lasting bond between the user and the object and promote product sustainability. This paper begins with a brief overview of the issue of stigma, and a review of the products which are affected by stigma and the impact this has on the user. It will then address topics of product abandonment, the need for innovation in the emerging market of people with disabilities, and societal trends and culture in the United States using empathic design research methods to gain insight. This will reveal opportunities to improve user’s experiences and benefits and will be focused in the areas of urinary incontinence and hearing loss. The paper will conclude with hearing aid designs which focus on creating an exciting user experience and fostering enjoyment of a better quality of life though an object of desire.
Issue Date: 2011-05-25
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Anne Marie Youngquist
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-25
Date Deposited: 2011-05

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