Bone Conducting Hearing Implant Candidates and Users Want More Support
A study released by The Ear Foundation, our strategic partner, indicates that both adults that do not proceed with bone conducting hearing implants (BCHI), and those that do pursue implantation, would benefit from additional counseling and support from hearing care professionals.
The study investigated the reasons why adults in the UK eligible for BCHI did not choose to follow through with getting a BCHI, and why others did. The study found that of those who did not proceed to have a BCHI implanted, many described that they were “not yet” ready, but that they would consider a BCHI in the future. Yet 62% of BCHI candidates reported receiving no follow-up information or support after making an initial decision not to proceed with implantation. Interviews with study participants indicated that if BCHI candidates were provided with more time to make the decision whether to pursue implantation and with more information − for example by being offered the opportunity to talk with a BCHI user or trial a BCHI − they would be more likely to pursue BCHI implantation.
Of those participants that did proceed with implantation, 46% shared that they still had concerns after implantation that varied from issues with equipment and abutment, to coping with difficult listening situations, and managing their own expectations of the benefits of the BCHI. This suggests that BCHI users could also benefit from support after implantation.
“Adults making the decision to have a BCHI need accurate and timely information, hands-on experience, and opportunity to speak to other BCHI users. Our research suggests that as hearing care professionals we need to strengthen our counselling skills to appropriately support BCHI candidates and users through this process and beyond,” explains Sarah Allen, Research & Public Engagement Lead at the Ear Foundation.
Motivating BCHI Candidates with Ida Tools
“This study is a call for professionals to focus more on the emotional and psychological aspects of hearing loss and to really try and understand the factors that motivates the individual to take action or not” says Lise Lotte Bundesen, Managing Director of the Ida Institute. “Making the decision to pursue or not pursue any type of surgery for your hearing loss is a difficult one, that requires informing yourself as much as possible and taking the time to reflect on what decision is best for you. We need to ensure that hearing care professionals are providing as much of that support as possible to empower people to make the best decision for themselves, at any point of the BCHI journey.”
The Ida Institute has a number of resources that can help professionals offer a more person-centered approach to hearing care. In particular, the Ida Motivation Tools can be used during the appointment to structure the conversation to understand the client’s motivation or lack hereof and encourage clients to take action on their hearing loss.
“Our Motivation Tools enable clients to reflect on why they want to take action and what prevents them from doing so. Supported by research and evidence, they are a valuable addition to the toolkit of hearing care specialists working with BCHI candidates,” says Lise Lotte.
Find the full Ear Foundation study, Decision-making: Bone conducting hearing implants for adults, here.