Hearing aid acquisition and ownership: what can we learn from online consumer reviews?

Rebecca J. Bennett, De Wet Swanepoel, Pierre Ratinaud, Abram Bailey, James W. Pennebaker, Vinaya Manchaiah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the publicised opinions of consumers actively participating in online hearing aid reviews. Design: A retrospective design examining data generated from an online consumer review website (www.HearingTracker.com). Qualitative data (open text responses) were analysed using the open source automated topic modelling software IRaMuTeQ (http://www.iramuteq.org/) to identify themes. Outputs were compared with quantitative data from the consumer reviews (short response questions exploring hearing aid performance and benefit, and some meta-data such as hearing aid brand and years of hearing aid ownership). Study sample: 1378 online consumer hearing aid reviews. Results: Six clusters within two domains were identified. The domain Device Acquisition included three clusters: Finding the right provider, device and price-point; Selecting a hearing aid to suit the hearing loss; Attaining physical fit and device management skills. The domain Device Use included three clusters: Smartphone streaming to hearing aids; Hearing aid adjustment using smartphone; and Hearing in noise. Conclusions: Although online hearing aid consumers indicate positive performance on multiple-choice questions relating to hearing aid performance and benefit, their online reviews describe a number of barriers limiting their success. Hearing healthcare clinicians must employ a personalised approach to audiological rehabilitation to ensure individual clients’ needs are met.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)917-926
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Audiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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