Management of Hearing Aid Assembly by Urban-Dwelling Hearing-Impaired Adults in a Developed Country

Implications for a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid

Elizabeth Convery, Gitte Keidser, Lisa Hartley, Lisa Hartley, Andrea Caposecco, Louise Hickson, Carly Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A self-fitting hearing aid, designed to be assembled and programmed without audiological or computer support, could bring amplification to millions of people in developing countries, who remain unaided due to the lack of a local, professional, audiological infrastructure. The ability to assemble and insert a hearing aid is fundamental to the successful use of a self-fitting device. In this study, the management of such tasks was investigated. Eighty older, urban-dwelling, hearing-impaired adults in a developed country were asked to follow a set of written, illustrated instructions to assemble two slim-fit behind-the-ear hearing aids. Participants were allowed to access assistance with the task from an accompanying partner. A range of personal and audiometric variables was measured through the use of structured questionnaires and standardized tests of health literacy, cognitive function, and manual dexterity. The results showed that 99% of participants were able to complete the hearing aid assembly task, either on their own or with assistance. Health literacy, or the ability to read and understand health-related text, and gender most strongly influenced participants’ ability to complete the assembly task independently and accurately. Higher levels of health literacy were associated with an increased likelihood of independent and successful task completion. Male participants were more likely to complete the task on their own, while female participants were more likely to assemble the device without errors. The results of this study will inform future work regarding development of educational material for the self-fitting hearing aid as well as candidacy for such a device.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Amplification
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • amplification
  • cognition
  • health literacy
  • hearing aid management
  • hearing aids
  • self-fitting

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