Hearing Aids - learning to adjust

Date: 26/09/2002

The MARCS Auditory Laboratories at the University of Western Sydney are recruiting participants for a new study into how people adjust to hearing aids.

"Some older people find it difficult to adapt to the sounds transmitted by their hearing aids, and we're interested in learning about their experiences," says MARCS director Professor Denis Burnham.

"More specifically, MARCS is looking at some of the perceptual and social effects of wearing a hearing aid for the first time. We want to find out how it affects the way people hear familiar voices, like those of friends and loved ones," he says.

"We're looking for participants over the age of 50 who wear a hearing aid, especially those who've had one fitted in the past 12 months," Professor Burnham says.

Those taking part will need to spend about an hour at the MARCS labs at the UWS Bankstown Campus. Participants will be asked to undertake four different reading and listening tasks, then answer multiple choice questions about the passage.

"We also ask them to complete a new questionnaire, developed and tested by Professor Bill Noble from the University of New England, which asks more details about their hearing, and how well they hear in different situations."

The tests are not medical in nature, and do not offer direct benefit to participants. A $20 travel allowance is also provided to those taking part. The study is approved by the UWS Human Ethics Panel, and is being undertaken by a team of fourth year psychology students, supervised by Professor Burnham, Dr Gary Walker and researcher Caroline Jones.

Professor Burnham says the research results should be completed by the end of the year.

"It's hoped this study will give us a better indication of what people experience when they first get their hearing aid, and how they adjust. The results from this type of psychological research may also be used in the future by industry to improve the design and features of hearing aids."

For more information on how to take part in the research project, contact Gail Charlton at MARCS on 02-9772 6677 or email g.charlton@uws.edu.au

Media Enquiries:
Angela McIntyre
Senior Media Officer
Ph. 02-9678 7424
0419 244 595
Email: a.mcintyre@uws.edu.au