Purpose: Hearing aid management describes the skills and knowledge required for the handling, use, care, and maintenance of the hearing aid. The importance of hearing aid management skills and knowledge is evidenced by their association with hearing aid outcomes. However, the nature of this association and the influence of participant factors on this association are unknown. Accordingly, the aims of the current study were to (a) investigate participant factors that influence hearing aid management skills and knowledge and (b) investigate the impact of hearing aid management skills and knowledge on hearing aid outcomes.
Method: Factors associated with hearing aid management skills and knowledge were investigated through an e-mail- and paper-based self-report survey, including the Hearing Aid Skills and Knowledge Inventory (Bennett, Meyer, Eikelboom, & Atlas, 2018b) and the International Outcomes Inventory for Hearing Aids (Cox & Alexander, 2002). The study sample included 518 adult hearing aid owners, ranging in age from 18 to 97 years (M = 71 years, SD = 14 years), 61% male and 39% female, recruited from seven hearing clinics across Australia.
Results: Participant factors found to be associated with hearing aid skills and knowledge included participants' age, gender, style of hearing aid, age of current hearing aid, and total years of hearing aid ownership. Higher levels of hearing aid management skills and knowledge were found to be associated with better hearing aid outcomes, specifically higher self-reported satisfaction with hearing aids, perceived benefit from hearing aids, and overall outcome of the hearing aid fitting as evaluated by the International Outcomes Inventory for Hearing Aids.
Conclusions: Hearing aid management difficulties were greatest for older people, women, and owners of behindthe-ear style of hearing aids, suggesting that clinicians need to be cognizant of the additional needs for these three groups. The positive association between hearing aid outcomes and hearing aid skills and knowledge emphasizes the importance of education and training on hearing aid management for successful aural rehabilitation.