Background: Increasingly, people access Internet-based health information about various chronic conditions including hearing loss and hearing aids. YouTube is one media source that has gained much popularity in recent years.
Purpose: The current study examines the source, content, understandability and actionability of YouTube videos related to hearing aids.
Research Design: Cross-sectional design by analyzing the videos at single point in time.
Study Sample: 100 most frequently viewed videos in YouTube.
Intervention: Not applicable.
Data Collection and Analysis: The 100 most viewed English-language videos targeting individuals seeking information regarding hearing aids were identified and manually coded. Data collection included general information about the video (e.g., source, title, authorship, date of upload, duration of video), popularity driven measures (e.g., number of views, likes, dislikes) and the video source (consumer, professional, or media). The video content was analyzed to examine what pertinent information they contained in relation to a pre-determined fact-sheet. Understandability and actionability of the videos were examined using the Patient Education Material Assessment Tool for Audiovisual Materials (PEMAT-A/V).
Results: Of the 100 most viewed videos, 11 were consumer-based, 80 were created by professionals, and the remaining 9 were media-based. General information about hearing aids, hearing aid types, and handling and maintenance of hearing aids were the most frequently discussed content categories with over 50% of all videos commenting on these areas. Differences were noted between source types in a number of content categories. The overall understandability scores for videos from all sources was 74%, which was considered adequate. However, the actionability scores for all the videos were 68%, which is considered inadequate.
Conclusions: YouTube videos about hearing aids focused on a range of issues and some differences were found between source types. The poor actionability of these videos may result in incongruous consumer actions. Content and quality of the information in hearing aid YouTube videos needs to be improved with input from professionals.