What factors influence help-seeking for hearing impairment and hearing aid adoption in older adults?

Int J Audiol. 2012 Feb;51(2):66-74. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2011.611178.


Objective: The purpose of this review paper was to identify factors that influence older adults' decisions to seek help for hearing impairment and to adopt hearing aids.

Design: A literature search of abstracts within peer-reviewed journal articles published in English between 1990 and 2010 was conducted in online bibliographic databases using the keywords: hearing; impair* or loss; seek* or candidate* or applicant* or acquir*; and hearing aid* or help or advice.

Results: Twenty-two articles that were directly relevant to this topic were included in this review.

Conclusions: The evidence suggests that individuals are more likely to seek help for hearing impairment and/or adopt hearing aids if they: (1) have a moderate to severe hearing impairment and self-reported hearing-related activity limitations or participation restrictions; (2) are older; (3) perceive their hearing as poor; (4) consider there to be more benefits than barriers to amplification; and (5) perceive their significant other/s as supportive of hearing rehabilitation. A barrier to help-seeking for hearing impairment and hearing aid adoption appears to be general practitioners' management of age-related hearing impairment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Correction of Hearing Impairment / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hearing Aids / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / psychology
  • Persons With Hearing Impairments / rehabilitation*
  • Presbycusis / diagnosis
  • Presbycusis / psychology
  • Presbycusis / rehabilitation*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Social Support
  • Spouses / psychology