Hearing aids are obtained or provided with the primary objective of diminishing the handicapping effect of hearing impairment. The benefit obtained from amplification by an individual can be assessed in many different ways. The amount of use made of the hearing aid has the merits of reasonable accuracy, relevance and simplicity in determination. Poor use of hearing aids may be a result of many factors. Modern instruments are technically adequate to the needs of most candidates provided they are correctly fitted. The reasons for disuse and under-use nowadays appear to be more related to the attitude of the potential user. To investigate this aspect of hearing aid provision, questionnaires have been sent to hearing aid candidates prior to the supply of the instrument. These questionnaires have been designed to assess such factors as failure to come to terms with the hearing loss, perceptions of stigma associated with hearing aids, lack of support or even overt hostility from close relatives, and withdrawal from social contacts. The relationships between these attitude measurements and outcome in terms of daily use of the aid 4 months later have been investigated. The findings of this study support the concept that attitude is a significant determinant of hearing aid use, and also suggest that aberrant attitudes can, in many individuals, be modified by counselling such that a better outcome can be achieved.