Preliminary support for a brief psychological intervention to improve first-time hearing aid use among adults
Suboptimal hearing aid use extorts significant social, health, and economic costs. The aims of this study were to (1) test the novel hypothesis that the threat associated with being diagnosed with hearing loss could be ameliorated with a self-affirmation manipulation and (2) gauge the feasibility of deploying the manipulation in routine clinical practice.Design.
Parallel groups randomized controlled trial with 10-week follow-up.Method.
Fifty people, newly prescribed with a hearing aid, completed either a questionnaire that included a brief self-affirming exercise or an identical questionnaire with no self-affirming exercise. The main outcome measure was derived from data logging automatically stored by the hearing aid. Perceived threat (‘anxiety about ageing’), behavioural intention, and self-efficacy were measured as potential mediators.Results.
Objectively measured hours of daily hearing aid use were marginally higher in the intervention group compared with the control group (between-group difference = 1.94 hr, 95%CI = −1.24, 5.12, d = 0.43). At follow-up, participants in the intervention group were significantly less anxious about ageing and more accepting of older people than were participants in the control group (between-group difference = 0.75, 95%CI = 0.26, 1.22, d = 0.87). There was no statistically significant effect of the intervention on behavioural intention or self-efficacy.Conclusions.
Although not statistically significant, the magnitude of the effect of the intervention on hearing aid use (d = 0.43) suggests that it would be worthwhile working towards a fully powered randomized controlled trial. The ability to reduce anxieties about ageing with this brief intervention could have far-reaching benefits for multiple patient and general population groups.