PURPOSE : The purpose of this study is to identify hearing aid owners' and clinicians' opinions of the knowledge, skills, and tasks required for hearing aid management and the importance of each of these to overall success with hearing aids.
METHOD : Concept mapping techniques were used to identify key themes, wherein participants generated, sorted, and rated the importance of statements in response to the question “What must hearing aid owners do in order to use, handle, manage, maintain, and care for their hearing aids?” Twenty-four hearing aid owners (56 to 91 years of age; 54.2% men, 45.8% women) and 22 clinicians (32 to 69 years of age; 9.1% men, 90.9% women) participated.
RESULT : Participants identified 111 unique items describing hearing aid management within 6 concepts: (a) “Daily Hearing Aid Use,” (b) “Hearing Aid Maintenance and Repairs,” (c) “Learning to Come to Terms with Hearing Aids,” (d) “Communication Strategies,” (e) “Working With Your Clinician,” and (f) “Advanced Hearing Aid Knowledge.” Clinicians' opinions of the importance of each statement varied only slightly from the opinions of the hearing aid owner group. Hearing aid owners indicated that all 6 concepts were of similar importance, whereas clinicians indicated that the concept “Advanced Hearing Aid Knowledge” was significantly less important than the other 5 concepts.
CONCLUSION : The results highlight the magnitude of information and skill required to optimally manage hearing aids. Clinical recommendations are made to improve hearing aid handling education and skill acquisition.
Portions of this article were presented at the World Congress of Audiology, Vancouver, Canada, September 20, 2016, and at the Audiology Australia National Conference 2016, Melbourne, Australia, May 23, 2016.