Rate and reasons for hearing aid disuse in New Zealand/Aotearoa.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Audiology
Introduction: Despite evidence that hearing aids (HA) are effective in treating hearing impairment, many individuals who own HAs do not use them. The disuse of HAs can impact upon a person’s quality of life, relationships with others, as well as their health and well-being. At present, the rate of HA disuse in New Zealand is unknown. This study aimed to quantify the current disuse rate, and investigate possible reasons for disuse in the New Zealand population. Methods: Hearing aid owners from throughout New Zealand were recruited. Demographic, audiometric and self-report data were gathered from 129 participants using a variety of questionnaires. Results: The rate of HA disuse ranged from five to 22% depending on definition of disuse. Audiometric and self-report variables were found to be related to HA use. Individuals who used HA more were found to report their hearing impairment as more severe, have poorer hearing thresholds and report higher HA satisfaction. HA use was also related to various health beliefs, accepted need for HAs, follow up support, perceived self-efficacy, and hearing handicap. Conclusion: This study identified factors relating to HA disuse and tools which may be used by clinicians to help identify red flags for disuse. In doing so, clinicians can implement measures specific to each client’s needs to reduce their risk of becoming a non-user.