The purpose of this study was to assess the extent to which intervention with hearing aids, namely, a 6-week hearing aid field trial, can minimize the psychosocial consequences of hearing loss in adults who have previously not sought treatment for their hearing loss.
Twenty-four adults with mild to moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, who had never worn hearing aids or sought help for their hearing loss, participated in this study. Participants were fitted with receiver-in-canal hearing aids, bilaterally, and wore them for 6 weeks. Participants completed subjective measures of hearing handicap and attitudes about hearing loss and hearing aids before, during, and after the hearing aid trial. A control group of age-matched participants followed the same experimental protocol, except they were not fitted with hearing aids.
Using hearing aids for 6 weeks significantly reduced participants’ perceived stigma of hearing aids, personal distress and inadequacy due to hearing difficulties, and hearing handicap.
A hearing aid trial can have a positive effect on a person’s attitudes toward wearing hearing aids and decrease hearing handicap.
Rolfeab, . & Gardner, C. International Journal of Audiology. Published online: 5 July 2016
Objective: Effective hearing loss rehabilitation support options are available. Yet, people often experience delays in receiving rehabilitation support. This study aimed to document support-seeking experiences among a sample of UK adults with hearing loss, and views towards potential strategies to increase rehabilitation support uptake. People with hearing loss were interviewed about their experiences of seeking support, and responses to hypothetical intervention strategies, including public awareness campaigns, a training programme for health professionals, and a national hearing screening programme.
Design: Semi-structured qualitative interview design with thematic analysis.
Study sample: Twenty-two people with hearing loss, aged 66–88.
Results: Three themes, representing barriers to receiving rehabilitation support and potential areas for intervention, were identified: making the journey from realization to readiness, combatting social stigma, and accessing appropriate services. Barriers to receiving support mostly focused on appraisal of hearing loss symptoms. Interventions enabling symptom appraisal, such as routine screening, or demonstrating how to raise the topic effectively with a loved one, were welcomed.
Conclusions: Interventions to facilitate realization of hearing loss should be prioritized. Raising awareness of the symptoms and prevalence of hearing loss may help people to identify hearing problems and reduce stigma, in turn increasing hearing loss acceptance.