Assembly and Insertion of a Self-Fitting Hearing Aid: Design of Effective Instruction Materials

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A self-fitting hearing aid has been proposed as a viable option to meet the need for rehabilitation in areas where audiology services are unreliable. A successful outcome with a self-fitting hearing aid pivots in part on the clarity of the instructions accompanying the device. The aims of this article are (a) to review the literature to determine features that should be incorporated into written health-care materials and factors to consider in the design process when developing written instructions for a target audience of older adults and (b) to apply this information to the development of a set of written instructions as the first step in self-fitting of a hearing aid, assembling four parts and inserting the aid into the ear. The method involved a literature review of published peer reviewed research. The literature revealed four steps in the development of written health-care materials: planning, design, assessment of suitability, and pilot testing. Best practice design principles for each step were applied in the development of instructions for how to assemble and insert a hearing aid. Separate booklets were developed for the left and right aids and the content of each consisted of simple line drawings accompanied by captions. The reading level was Grade 3.5 equivalent and the Flesch Reading Ease Score was 91.1 indicating that the materials were “very easy” to read. It is essential to follow best practice design principles when developing written health-care materials to motivate the reader, maximize comprehension, and increase the likelihood of successful application of the content.

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