Objectives: This study aimed to explore the main reasons adults with hearing loss take up hearing aids as well as their recommendations to others with hearing difficulties.
Design: A cross-sectional survey design was used with open-ended questions analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Participants (n=642) included hearing aid users in the United States recruited from the Hearing Tracker website community and the Lexie Hearing user database.
Results: Participants had a mean age of 65.4 years (13.7 SD) and included 62% males, 38% females and 0.5% others. Reasons for hearing aid uptake were categorized into three domains (personal impact, social difficulties and auditory difficulties), containing 11 main categories and 48 sub-categories. Recommendations to others with hearing difficulties constituted 8 main categories (timely help, trial period, support, affordability, technology, direct-to-consumer hearing aids, adjustments and advocacy) and 32 sub-categories.
Conclusions: Hearing aid uptake was influenced by intrinsic factors like reduced quality of life and extrinsic factors such as the availability of finances. The most frequent recommendation was not to delay seeking hearing help and to get hearing aids. Our findings may assist hearing healthcare professionals in facilitating behavior change and improving hearing aid uptake.