Indexed on: 21 Dec '19Published on: 20 Dec '19Published in: PloS one
Hearing aids are the most common rehabilitation strategy for age-related hearing loss. However, 25% to 50% of older adults fitted with hearing aids do not wear them post-fitting. Hearing aid self-efficacy has been suggested as one of the key factors that may explain adherence to hearing aids in older adults. The primary aim of this study was to determine a possible association between educational level and hearing aid self-efficacy in older adult hearing aid users from a Latin American country (i.e., Chile). The secondary aim was to determine if in this sample of older adults, hearing aid self-efficacy predicted hearing aid adherence as previously suggested by other studies. The MARS-HA (Measure of Audiologic Rehabilitation Self-Efficacy for Hearing Aids) questionnaire was used to measure hearing aid self-efficacy. This questionnaire was initially adapted into Spanish (S-MARS-HA) using forward and backward translations by bilingual English-Spanish speakers. A sample of 252 older adults fitted with hearing aids at a public hospital in Santiago, Chile, was investigated. Educational level was measured as the number of years of formal education. Participants responded to the S-MARS-HA along with questions exploring social support, attitudes in using hearing aids, participation in social events, and vision and joint problems. Hearing aid adherence was investigated with the use of a question from the International Outcome Inventory for Hearing Aids. All these procedures were conducted at the participants' homes. Pure-tone average (PTA; 500-4000 Hz) in the fitted ear was obtained from the participants' medical records. Univariate and multivariate regression models were constructed to investigate the association between educational level and hearing aid self-efficacy controlling for the covariates of interest (e.g., social support, attitudes in using hearing aids, PTA). The S-MARS-HA showed an adequate construct validity along with a good reliability. Results of the multivariate regression analyses showed that educational level significantly predicted hearing aid self-efficacy. Covariates significantly associated with this outcome included attitudes in using hearing aids and PTA in the fitted ear. Finally, a significant association between hearing aid self-efficacy and adherence to hearing aid use was observed. In conclusion, this study showed a significant association between educational level and hearing aid self-efficacy in older adults from a developing Latin American country. Thus, this variable should be considered when designing and delivering aural rehabilitation programs such as hearing aids to older adults, especially those from developing countries.