Pediatric Hearing Aid Use: How Can Audiologists Support Parents To Increase Consistency?

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Journal of American Academy of Audiology





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Background: Children need consistent access to the full range of speech sounds for spoken language development, making daily hearing aid management a fundamental component of effective intervention. In addition to receiving services from professionals with expertise in childhood hearing loss, parents play a central role in the intervention process. However, parents can experience an array of barriers and challenges in learning to cope with the demands of daily management. Feedback about hearing aid use time might offer parents insight into challenges and lead to the identification of strategies to increase use, optimizing child outcomes.

Purpose: This exploratory study had 2 primary purposes: (1) to examine hearing aid use time for a cohort of children 7 mo to 6 yr of age and (2) to examine whether hearing aid use time increased when parents were given periodic objective feedback (i.e., data-logging results) about average daily use time.

Research Design: A retrospective chart review was used to collect data on eligible participants.

Results: Findings for 29 children (7 mo to 6 yr of age) revealed variability in hours of hearing aid use and an increase in hours of use with age and severity of hearing loss. Reports of typical hearing aid use from seven parents revealed that parents overestimated use by an average of 3.36 hr. Review of challenges reported revealed issues with retention, awareness of the effect of nonuse on average daily access to sound, and lack of perceived benefit of hearing aid use. Hearing aid use increased with communication about data logging for some, but not all, parents.

Conclusions: For effective integration of essential hearing aid management skills into the daily lives of primary caregivers, audiologists must consider caregiver needs in the overall child management and monitoring plan. The ability to optimize child outcomes might depend in part on the extent audiologists embrace family-centered services, engage in collaborative problem solving, and support parents in applying individualized strategies.

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