Jorunn Solheim, Caryl Gay & Louise Hickson | Older adults’ experiences and issues with hearing aids in the first six months after hearing aid fitting | International Journal of Audiology | Published online: 27 Sep 2017
Objectives: This study describes older adults’ experiences with a new hearing aid (HA) during the first 6 months after fitting.
Design: In a longitudinally designed study, experiences and issues with HA use were assessed at a six-month follow-up appointment in individual structured interviews lasting 30 min. Associations between HA experiences and demographic factors, degree of hearing loss, and an objective measure of HA use (datalogging) were also examined.
Study sample: 181 HA recipients (≥60 years) attending a six-month follow-up appointment.
Results: Participants reported an average of 1.4 issues with HA use, the most common pertaining to the earmold (26.5%), sound quality (26.0%) and handling (25.5%). Participants who reported at least one issue had fewer hours of use per day, but were not more likely to be non-users (<30 min/day). Non-users (15.5%) were more likely to report no need for a HA and handling issues.
Conclusions: Most older adults use their HAs regardless of reported issues. However, handling issues and no perceived need may interfere with HA usage among some adults with hearing impairment. Moreover, reported issues were associated with less frequent HA use. Follow-up support is thus important to address issues that may interfere with optimal use.