Evaluating a theoretically informed and co-created mHealth educational intervention for first-time hearing aid users: a qualitative interview study

Background:

Knowledge of hearing aids in adults living with hearing loss is highly variable, resulting in suboptimal or non-use. This issue can be addressed by the provision of high-quality educational information.

Objective:

This study assessed the everyday experiences of first-time hearing aid users toward a newly developed theoretically informed and co-created mHealth educational intervention. Branded m2Hear, the intervention delivers greater opportunities for individualisation and interactivity compared to our previously developed multimedia materials, C2Hear.

Methods:

Sixteen first-time hearing aid users trialled m2Hear for a period of 10-weeks in their everyday lives, after which individual semi-structured interviews were completed. The data were analysed using an established deductive thematic analysis procedure underpinned by the COM-B model. The model stipulates that to engage in a target behaviour (B), an individual must have physical and psychological capability (C), physical and social opportunity (O), and automatic and reflective motivation (M).

Results:

Capability: m2Hear was viewed as a concise and comprehensive resource, providing useful reminders to facilitate knowledge of hearing aids and communication. Opportunity: m2Hear was simple and straightforward to use, enabling greater individualisation and independence. The availability of m2Hear via mobile technologies also improved accessibility. Motivation: m2Hear provided greater support and reassurance, improving confidence and empowering users to self-manage their hearing loss.

Conclusions:

Overall, this qualitative study suggests that m2Hear supports first-time hearing aid users to successfully self-manage their hearing loss post-fitting. Furthermore, this study demonstrates the utility of employing a theoretical and ecologically valid approaches in the development of mHealth educational interventions to meet the individual needs of the end user.