The authors have raised an interesting subject concerning the ability of customers to self-assess their hearing aid handling skills. Previous studies showed that 96% of customers when asked if they are able to manage their hearing aids answered ‘yes’. However, if they were assessed by clinicians through the clinician-administrated survey, only 10 % demonstrated the full ability to handle their hearing aids. The aim of this pilot study was to determine if the ability to self-assess hearing aid handling skills may be improved by introducing an itemised list of handling tasks. Nineteen participants took part in this study; all of them were experienced adult hearing aid users and had been using their hearing aids for 1 to 3 years at the time. Nine-item surveys were created for clinicians and patients. The mean score for the clinician survey was high – 91.15 % – indicating high hearing aid handling skills, which was expected taking into account the experience of participants. However, only 31 % of participants were able to successfully complete every task. The participants assessed their skills lower than clinicians did with a mean score of 79.74%, with only 15.79 % showing full competence. The difference between clinician and self-assessment was not significant. These results showed that participants were able to assess their hearing aid handling skills. The authors discussed how much clinical time could be saved if participants needing more training were identified. I think this study highlighted another important issue only a small percentage of experienced hearing aid users were fully competent in managing their hearing aids. Most hearing aid providers introduced a full assessment and fit in one consultation. Additionally, there is a tendency to reduce the time of these consultations in order to see more customers. Maybe this explains why a majority of experienced hearing aid users still have difficulty managing their hearing aids?

Are hearing aid owners able to identify and self-report handling difficulties? A pilot study.
Bennet RJ, Meyer C, Olaithe M, Schmullian D, Eikelboom RH.
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Joanna Lemanska

De Montfort University, Leicester, UK.

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