Knowledge is power: improving outcomes for patients, partners, and professionals in the digital age

Purpose The aim of this research was to develop and evaluate methods to address poor knowledge of hearing aids, hearing loss, and communication in patients, partners, and nonaudiologic health and social care professionals. Method An interactive multimedia educational program (C2Hear) has been co-produced with hearing aid users and audiologists to provide high-quality information and demonstrate complex concepts relating to hearing aids and communication. Results A randomized controlled trial showed numerous benefits for first-time hearing aid users that included better knowledge and skill, and increased hearing aid use and satisfaction. Patients reported that C2Hear was highly useful, enjoyable, and preferable to written information. C2Hear Online is now freely available on YouTube and has global reach, well in excess of 150,000 views. Further developments include a version for communication partners, which showed that joint-working between hearing aid users and their communication partners resulted in joint responsibility for communication that facilitated communication behaviors. In addition, a behavior theory-driven version for use with mobile technologies (m2Hear) has been designed to be tailored to the needs of individual hearing aid users. m2Hear includes more activities/interaction to maximize user engagement and learning. Finally, C2Hear has been used to improve hearing-related knowledge in other health and social care professionals, such as carehome assistants. Conclusion This range of educational programs and tools aims to improve knowledge and skills, leading to better outcomes for patients, partners, and health care professionals.