The development of an mHealth educational intervention for first-time hearing aid users: combining theoretical and ecologically valid approaches

Objective. This paper describes the development of a novel mobile health (mHealth) educational intervention designed for first-time hearing aid users based on previously developed educational multimedia videos, or reusable learning objects (RLOs), branded C2Hear.
Design. The development of m2Hear used theoretical and ecologically valid approaches. The COM-B model and associated Theoretical Domains Framework were employed to identify specific components (or “active ingredients”) of the original RLOs that facilitate hearing aid use. An mHealth platform was then developed following an iterative, user-centred and participatory design approach.
Study sample. Fifteen existing hearing aid users completed synchronous, real-time Think Aloud interviews. A sub-group of these participants (n=5), along with patient and public involvement panel members (n=4), subsequently reviewed the usability of the mHealth platform.
Results. While factors associated with Capability featured strongly across all RLOs, topics relating to Opportunity and Motivation were also incorporated. The RLOs were broken-down into 42 shorter mobile-enhanced RLOs (or mRLOs). Each mRLO was labelled with a specific user-centred question generated from the Think Aloud interviews. The final mHealth platform was developed following four separate usability iterations.
Conclusions. Overall, m2Hear provides greater opportunities for individualised learning and encourages greater interaction to facilitate self-management in first-time hearing aid users.