Self-Perception of Hearing Ability as a Strong Predictor of Hearing Aid Purchase
Background: Hearing threshold data are not particularly predictive of self-perceived hearing handicap or readiness to pursue amplification. Poor correlations between these measures have been reported repeatedly. When a patient is evaluated for hearing loss, it is common to collect both threshold data and the individual's self-perception of hearing ability. This is done to help the patient make an appropriate choice related to the pursuit of amplification or other communication strategies. It would be valuable, though, for the audiologist to be able to predict which patients are ready for amplification, which patients require more extensive counseling before pursuing amplification, and which patients simply are not ready for amplification regardless of the audiometric data. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the following question for its potential usefulness as a determinant of patient readiness for amplification: “On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 being the worst and 10 being the best, how would you rate your overall hearing ability?” Research Design: The test-retest reliability and the predictive value of the question, based on final hearing aid purchase, were evaluated in a private practice setting. Study Sample: Eight hundred forty hearing-impaired adults in the age range from 18 to 95 years. Collection and Analysis: Data were collected retrospectively from patient files. Results and Conclusion: Results were repeatable and supported the use of this question in similar clinical settings.