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Views on wireless hearing technology

Teenagers' and young adults' views - A qualitative study

This study explored the views of 45 teenagers with aids and implants on their thoughts on wireless technology.

  • They were aged between 10 and 25 years with a mean of 14.9 years.

  • Nine respondents wore bilateral hearing aids, four wore unilateral hearing aids, nineteen wore bilateral cochlear implants and thirteen wore unilateral implants.

  • The majority wore their implants or aids all of the time.

  • They had difficulty conversing in noise or in groups.

  • The most common accessory to use was an FM system.

  • The majority (74%) reported that their implant or hearing aid was not wireless.

  • However, (48%) , less than half were aware of wireless technology or knew what it was.

  • When explained, the majority (97 %) thought a wireless system would be useful and was appealing to them.

  • Open responses revealed that respondents who had tried FM systems/radio aids and wireless accessories, preferred their wireless accessories over the radio aids for both sound quality and ease of use.

  • The device they would most like to connect to wirelessly was a mobile, followed by a play station, tablet, TV and MP3 player.

  • They rarely commented on hearing better in noise or conversations through the wireless technology even though majority of them reported having considerable difficulties in these situations. While partly the reason for this could be their age group, it could be because there is less awareness and education about the full benefits and use of wireless technology and the accessories.

While it is difficult to obtain rich information from teenagers, this study shows a  clear lack of awareness of wireless technology in this group, although they consider that it might be useful. There is a clear need for information for them, and improved access, possibly using the social media and communication routes used by this group. More awareness, access and education about the different aspects of the wireless technology is required.

This study was supported by GN Resound.

You can read and download the full report here: The Ear Foundation - Wireless Technology - Teenagers.pdf

If you have any queries and/or would like more information on this study, please contact sarah@earfoundation.org.uk