Reduced Hearing Handicap

Two separate research studies have found that new hearing aid users who participate in Group AR programs exhibit a reduced "hearing handicap" in a greater degree as opposed to individual who received new hearing aids, but did not participate in Group AR.

The effects of intervention strategy on self-perception of hearing handicap

The purpose of this study was to determine whether participation in a counseling-based aural rehabilitation program would result in greater reduction of self-perceived hearing handicap than hearingaid use alone. Thirty-one post lingually hearing-impaired adults were placed into three groups after audiological evaluation. The first group received hearing aids and participated in a counseling-based aural rehabilitation (AR) program. The second group received hearing aids only. The third group received neither hearing aids nor counseling-based AR.

The Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly was administered to all subjects before audiological evaluation and again to all subjects 2 months after receipt ofhearing aids for the experimental groups. For both experimental groups, self-perception of hearing handicap was significantly reduced as a function of intervention when measured on any of the three Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly scales, whereas there was no change in self-perception of hearing handicap for the control group on any scale. In addition, there was weak but significant evidence that participating in the counseling-based AR program in addition to hearing aid use resulted in a greater reduction of self-perceived hearing handicap than did hearing aid use alone.

Abrams, H. B., Hnath-Chisolm, T., Guerreiro, S. M., & Ritterman, S. I. (1992). The effects of intervention strategy on self-perception of hearing handicap. Ear and Hearing, 13, 371-377. 

A randomized, controlled trial of the efficacy of a communication course for first time hearing aid users

Many centers include a communication course as part of their auditory rehabilitation. These usually take the form of a small group and include discussion of the effects of hearing loss, use of the hearing aid, hearing tactics and lip reading. To investigate the efficacy of such a rehabilitation programme a randomized, controlled trial of a communication course was undertaken. All subjects were first time hearing aid users; handicap was measured using the Quantified Denver Scale of Communication Function (QDS) at the time of hearing aid fitting, and then 13 weeks later. All subjects had a hearing aid follow-up appointment, but the treatment group (n = 22) also underwent a four-week communication course, while the control group (n = 25) had no further rehabilitation. The reduction in handicap measured by the change in QDS was significantly greater for the treatment group than for the control group (Mann Whitney U test, tied p value = 0.014). This indicates that such a communication course is efficacious in reducing handicap. Further research is required to identify the populations that will benefit most from such a course.

Beynon, G. J., Thornton, F. L., & Poole, C. (1997). A randomized, controlled trial of the efficacy of a communication course for first time hearing aid users. British Journal of Audiology, 31, 345-351.