Preliminary Support for a Brief Psychological Intervention to Improve First-Time Hearing Aid Use Among Adults

C J Armitage, Deborah Lees , Kathryn Lewis, Kevin Munro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives. Suboptimal hearing aid use extorts significant social, health, and economic costs. The aims of this study were to: (a) test the novel hypothesis that the threat associated with being diagnosed with hearing loss could be ameliorated with a self-affirmation manipulation, and (b) gauge the feasibility of deploying the manipulation in routine clinical practice.
Design. Parallel groups randomized controlled trial with ten 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 aging”), behavioural intention and self-efficacy were measured as potential mediators.
Results. Objectively-measured hours of daily hearing aid use was marginally higher in the intervention group compared with the control group (between-group difference = 1.94 hours, 95%CI = -1.24, 5.12, d = .43). At follow-up, participants in the intervention group were significantly less anxious about aging 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 = .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 = .43) suggests that it would be worthwhile working towards a fully-powered randomized controlled trial. The ability to reduce anxieties about aging with this brief intervention could have far-reaching benefits for multiple patient and general population groups.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Health Psychology
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • self-affirmation
  • hearing aid use
  • audiology
  • Behaviour change
  • intervention
  • hearing aid prescription
  • aging


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