The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of hearing, cognition, and personal factors on hearing aid (HA) uptake, use, and benefit.
Eighty-five older adults aged 60-80 years (M = 70.23, SD = 5.17) participated in the study. Hearing was assessed using pure-tone audiometry and the Listening in Spatialised Noise-Sentences test. Cognition was measured using the Cogstate Brief Battery and the Cogstate Groton Maze Learning task. Personal demographics were recorded from participants’ answers on a series of take-home questionnaires. HA benefit and use was subjectively reported at 3 and 6 months post HA fitting for those who chose to use HAs.
Stepwise-regression and mixed-effects models indicated that stronger psychomotor function predicted greater reported use of HAs at 3 and 6 months post HA fitting. Greater family interaction scores also predicted greater HA use at 3 months after fitting. Participants who chose to be fitted with HAs had significantly poorer self-reported health and poorer audiometric thresholds. Poorer hearing was also significantly related with greater reported HA benefit.
A combination of cognitive, psychosocial factors and hearing impacted HA outcomes for the older Australians in this study. Self-reported HA use was significantly greater in participants with better psychomotor function. Furthermore, those with poorer self-reported health were more likely to choose to use HAs. These factors should be considered in audiological rehabilitation to best maximize patient HA outcomes.