Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Clark, M Kathleen

First Committee Member

Wallhagen, Margaret

Second Committee Member

Ayres, Lioness

Third Committee Member

Specht, Janet

Fourth Committee Member

Gardner, Sue

Fifth Committee Member

Oleson, Jacob


Hearing loss affects millions of Americans each year, especially targeting older Americans. Elders aged 65-75 years are affected as much as 38% and those numbers rapidly rise to over 42% affected by the time a person is 75 years of age. The rise in the numbers of older persons in the United States makes hearing loss the third most common chronic illness in the US today. Of these persons approximately 30% chose to purchase hearing aids, but an astounding 47.2% of these individuals are able to adjust to the hearing aids in order to wear them daily. Ambient sounds and physical discomfort, from the presence of the device in the ear cause individuals either to never wear the devices or stop wearing them after a short time. This dissertation focused on an intervention to assist those older persons who have purchased hearing aids, but are not wearing them, in adjusting to those aids; in order to improve hearing aid satisfaction and hours of hearing aid use.

A one group pre/posttest design was implemented on a group of individuals who had previously failed to adjust to hearing aids between the ages of 65-75 years of age. The Glasgow Hearing Aid Benefit Profile (GHABP) and hours of hearing aid use time were the primary outcome variables. This intervention study occurred over a four week period of time, with weekly face-to-face meetings with participants.

Findings demonstrated that the intervention was feasible to administer in a group of community dwelling older persons (aged 65-75 years). All 15 participants completed the entire intervention, meeting each of 4 times with the researcher over a four week period. 40% of volunteers later declined to participate and 48% were turned away due to the small sample size of this study. An overall increase of hearing aid use time was between 1-9 hours per day. A Wilcoxin signed rank test was performed with a result of 60 (p=<0.0001). Participants who increased their hearing aid use time >4 hours equaled 53% while 46.7% increase their hearing aid use time <4 hours. Hearing aid satisfaction as measured by the GHABP improved between 1-5 with a median of 4. The Wilcoxin signed rank test result was 22.5 with a p value of 0.0039.

These results deem the intervention not only feasible, but statistically significant in improving both hearing aid use time and hearing aid satisfaction. Future studies should be aimed at advanced statistical analysis, randomized clinical trial with larger numbers to improve power, and expanding the age criteria for study inclusion. Implications for future research are great, improving communication in older persons, but also perhaps impacting third party reimbursement of hearing aids, as well as decreasing the biopsychosocial effects hearing loss has on the population as a whole.


critical educational gerogogy, hearing aid adjustment, hearing loss, nursing, WHO ICF


ix, 166 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 70-77).


Copyright 2012 Kari Rae Lane

Included in

Nursing Commons