Knoetze, M., Beukes, E.W., Manchaiah, V., Oosthuizen, I., & Swanepoel, D.W.
International Journal of Audiology, In Press.
Publication year: 2023

Purpose: This study aimed to explore the main reasons for hearing aid uptake from a user perspective and recommendations to others with hearing difficulties.

Method: A cross-sectional survey design was used. Responses to a single open-ended question were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Participants (n=642) included adult hearing aid users sampled from the Hearing Tracker website community and Lexie Hearing user databases in the United States.

Results: Participants had a mean age of 65.4 years (13.7 SD) and included 61.8% males, 37.7% females, 0.3% non-binary, and 0.2% preferred not to say. 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. User recommendations to others with hearing difficulties constituted eight main categories (timely help, trial period, support, affordability, technology, direct-to-consumer hearing aids, adjustments, and advocacy) and 32 sub-categories.

Conclusions: The decision to take up hearing aids included intrinsic factors like readiness to change and extrinsic factors such as the availability of finances. The most frequent recommendation to others was not to delay seeking hearing help and to get hearing aids. Our findings may support strategies to facilitate behavior change for improved hearing aid uptake.

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