Feasibility of Using a Smartphone-Based Hearing Aid Application to Improve Attitudes Toward Amplification and Hearing Impairment

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Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether short-term experience (i.e., 4 weeks) with a smartphone-based hearing aid application (SHAA) might positively improve attitudes toward amplification uptake and hearing impairment. Method: We recruited 15 experienced hearing aid wearers who had ceased wearing their devices for > 1 year (i.e., “In-the-Drawer” group) and 15 individuals with self-reported hearing difficulties who had yet to adopt hearing aids (i.e., “First-Time” group). We obtained participant attitudes preand post-SHAA using 3 surveys and analyzed perceptible changes in attitude for each survey. Comparative findings were then generalized to the health belief model in the context of perceived benefits (i.e., efficacy of an action to reduce risk) and reduced perceived barriers (i.e., tangible and psychological costs that inhibit compliance and adoption). Results: A short trial period with an SHAA appears to modify the psychological perception toward amplification and reduce listener perception with respect to hearing difficulties in both groups. Conclusion: A short trial period with an SHAA improved the perceived benefits and reduced the perceived barriers in the average First-Time listener, who often delays adoption of traditional amplification. The same trial period was also found to improve perceived benefits and reduce perceived barriers for the average In-the-Drawer listener, but to a lesser degree than their First-Time counterparts.