Bannon, L., Picou, E., Bailey, A., & Manchaiah, V.
Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, In Press.
Publication year: 2023

Purpose: There is unexplained variability in self-reported hearing aid outcomes. The aim of this study was to evaluate determinants of hearing aid benefit and satisfaction ratings using a large-scale customer survey and to analyze the relation between demographic variables, hearing aid attributes, benefit, and satisfaction.

Method: The study used a retrospective design wherein 2,109 hearing aid users, recruited by Hearing Tracker and Hearing Loss Association of America, completed an online survey. The survey included questions about demographics, perceived hearing loss, devices, service delivery, cost, benefit, and satisfaction. The analytic approach included descriptive summaries and regression models to evaluate potential determinants of hearing aid benefit and satisfaction ratings.

Results: Hearing aid sound quality, fit and comfort, and battery life were related to both benefit and satisfaction. Respondents who rated these outcomes favorably were also likely to benefit from, and be satisfied, with their hearing aids. Benefit was also related to degree of hearing loss, hearing aid experience, and cost. Hearing aid users with greater self-perceived hearing loss, more hearing aid experience, and more expensive hearing aids reported more benefit. Satisfaction was also related to age, employment status, and brand. Younger respondents, those who were students, and those using certain brands reported more satisfaction.

Conclusion: The results highlight importance of good hearing aid outcomes (quality, fit/comfort, battery life) for benefit and satisfaction ratings. Professionals who fit hearing aids should strive to focus on achieving these outcomes and researchers should strive to explain the remaining variability in ratings of benefit and satisfaction.