Predictors of Entering a Hearing Aid Evaluation Period: A Prospective Study in Older Hearing-Help Seekers

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This study aimed to determine the predictors of entering a hearing aid evaluation period (HAEP) using a prospective design drawing on the health belief model and the transtheoretical model. In total, 377 older persons who presented with hearing problems to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist ( n = 110) or a hearing aid dispenser ( n = 267) filled in a baseline questionnaire. After 4 months, it was determined via a telephone interview whether or not participants had decided to enter a HAEP. Multivariable logistic regression analyses were applied to determine which baseline variables predicted HAEP status. A priori, candidate predictors were divided into 'likely' and 'novel' predictors based on the literature. The following variables turned out to be significant predictors: more expected hearing aid benefits, greater social pressure, and greater self-reported hearing disability. In addition, greater hearing loss severity and stigma were predictors in women but not in men. Of note, the predictive effect of self-reported hearing disability was modified by readiness such that with higher readiness, the positive predictive effect became stronger. None of the 'novel' predictors added significant predictive value. The results support the notion that predictors of hearing aid uptake are also predictive of entering a HAEP. This study shows that some of these predictors appear to be gender specific or are dependent on a person's readiness for change. After assuring the external validity of the predictors, an important next step would be to develop prediction rules for use in clinical practice, so that older persons' hearing help-seeking journey can be facilitated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2331216517744915
JournalTrends in Hearing
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017

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