Pediatric hearing aid use: parent-reported issues

survey

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A recent cross-sectional survey was carried out to investigate parent-reported challenges related to hearing aid management and parental psychosocial characteristics The researchers, primarily from the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, USA, used a cross-sectional survey design, with surveys distributed to parents of children with hearing loss as part of Early Intervention programs in Utah and Indiana.

The aim was to collect data on parent access to information, parent confidence in performing tasks, expectations, communication with the audiologist, and challenges in hearing aid use. An Acceptance and Action Questionnaire was also used to measure psychological factors. Thirty-seven families completed questionnaires (35 mothers and 20 fathers).

Results of the study showed that most parents (84%, both mothers and fathers) preferred to be given all the information at the beginning of the care process, rather than to receive it over an extended period of time. This was despite the fact that parents found the amount of information they received to be overwhelming. Most challenges related to hearing aid use involved daily management, hearing aid use, and emotional adjustment. Respondents reported a wide range of variability in their confidence in performing activities associated with hearing aid management, and most parents reported minimal confidence in their ability to troubleshoot hearing aid problems. Child behavior and activities, like playing outside, were highlighted as a major hearing aid use challenge. 47% did not feel that they had enough time to talk about their emotions when speaking with their audiologist, 69% reported the audiologist did not help them to understand what to expect concerning emotions about their child’s hearing loss, and 22% reported symptoms of depression.

The authors conclude that parents reported a wide array of challenges, “even after their child had been wearing hearing aids for a prolonged time, revealing critical implications for how to provide audiological care.”

Source: Muñoz K, et al. Pediatric Hearing Aid Use: Parent-Reported Challenges. Ear and hearing. 2014 Oct 9.

C.S.