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Study examines how to create a positive hearing aid experience

The Rehabilitation R&D Service of the Veterans Administration has awarded funding for a pilot study that will explore whether the Ida Motivation Tools and motivational interviewing techniques can help patients make the behavioral changes necessary to ensure positive hearing aid use. Samantha Lewis, PhD, staff investigator at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research and assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at the Oregon Health and Science University, is the principal investigator for the project, titled “Applying the Use of Motivational Tools to Auditory Rehabilitation.” The Motivational Tools will be used as a means to explore and address patient’s prioritization of and confidence in hearing aids.

ida institute“We are pleased that the Veterans Administration has seen the value of conducting research on the potential for positive outcomes with the Motivational Tools,” says Ida Managing Director Lise Lotte Bundesen. “We look forward to the study results that will help us to provide clinicians with the outcome data needed to further expand use of the Motivational Tools in private and public clinics around the world.”

Dr. Lewis, who received training from the Ida Institute on the use of the Motivational Tools, will conduct the pilot study at the U.S. Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Portland. The study will be a randomized clinical trial, where unsuccessful hearing aid users will be randomized to either receive a motivational interviewing intervention (treatment group) or to review standard literature with an audiologist (control group).

One method will provide the control group with routine information regarding the care and use of hearing aids, which is the standard of care. In the treatment group, the Motivational Tools will be used to address patient-specific barriers to and motivators for successful hearing aid use. 

The study hypothesizes that the use of the motivational counseling technique will result in greater hearing aid use and better hearing aid outcomes. Through the pilot study, researchers will look to identify information crucial for conducting a large-scale randomized trial exploring the use of proposed motivational intervention as a means for improving hearing aid use and potentially other patient outcomes.

In her application for the VA RR&D funding, Dr. Lewis notes the easy transition of the Motivational Tools from the laboratory to the clinic “is a strength of this proposal, as it could result in immediate improvements for our Veterans with hearing loss who are currently having a difficult time adjusting to hearing-aid use.” 

The two year study is expected to be completed in 2015.

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