Background: Is a ‘science knows best’ approach the best option for hearing care, or do patients want more control; and if so, how much control do they want? The aim of this study is to assess what the thoughts and opinions of hearing aid users are towards a hearing aid they can programme themselves and investigate what control they require.
Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 11 hearing aid users (6 females and 5 males). Each participant was interviewed using a self-written 24-item questionnaire; validated using the content validity ratio method. Specially designed user interfaces (UI) to demonstrate how a SFHA might be controlled were shown to participants. Two versions were designed, an A-B selection version and a fader controlled version.
Results: 100% of participants exhibited a positive response to the SFHA concept. The fader software version was preferred by 100% of participants, with greater control ability being the primary reason. Using thematic analysis, four themes were identified; (1) perception and expectations of a SFHA; (2) using the software as a control mechanism; (3) this is how you can make the software better; and (4) the care of an audiologist vs. a SFHA.
Conclusions: The want and need for control is apparent within the data, demonstrating that a ‘science knows best’ approach may not be working within audiology clinics. Hearing aids users want the additional control to give them a more natural sound to their hearing aid and greater ownership of their hearing. There is some fear of making mistakes and becoming obsessed with finding the correct setting. However, with training and repetition, perceived self-efficacy is high.
Published on: Mar 20, 2017 Pages: 48-55