Preconceptions and expectations of older adults about getting hearing aids
ENT Department, Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Aim: The objectives of this study were to describe preconceptions and expectations of older adults about getting hearing aids and to explore the influence of hearing loss (HL), hearing aid experience, gender, age, and marital status on these preconceptions and expectations.
Methods: A total of 174 participants aged above 65 years were randomly selected from a waiting list for hearing aid fitting. Hearing threshold was tested using pure tone audiometry. A self-report questionnaire with a specific focus on preconceptions and expectations about getting hearing aids, external influences, and the psychosocial problems associated with HL and the use of a hearing aid was administered.
Results: A factor analysis revealed three factors: positive expectations, barriers, and social pressure. Cronbach's a was 0.847 for positive expectations and 0.591 for barriers. Cronbach's a was not statistically applicable to the social pressure factor, as it consisted of only one item. Adjusted linear regression analysis revealed that participants with moderate to severe HL and hearing aid experience had a significant increase in positive expectations. Male gender was associated with fewer barriers to hearing aids. Age and marital status had no influence on the three factors.
Conclusion: Less positive expectations and more problem-oriented preconceptions among subjects with mild HL may explain why hearing aids are scarcely used. Additionally, lower estimated need and modest plans for regular use among this group could mean hearing aids are not used. Rehabilitation should focus on investment of time, continuity of use, realistic expectations, and follow-up support.
Keywords: hearing aid, older adults, preconceptions, expectations, barriers
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