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Counselling of hearing aid users is highly cost-effective

  • Otology
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Abstract

Hearing aids (HAs) are often left unused. Several investigations have shown that the use of HAs and the skills to use them can be significantly improved through counselling. Follow-up counselling is often restricted by increased cost. The objective of the study was to assess the cost and the effect of follow-up counselling on HA use. In a prospective pre-post design study, 98 first-time HA users were counselled 6 months after the fitting of a HA, and the use of and benefit from HAs were measured by means of an interview and the short form of the hearing handicap inventory for the elderly (HHIE-S) and the EuroQoL (EQ-5D) questionnaires. The results obtained before and 6 months after counselling were compared and the cost of counselling was calculated. After follow-up counselling, over half of the occasional users of a HA and as many as one third of the non-users became regular users. The number of regular users increased by 16 subjects, and non-users decreased from 29 subjects to 17. The HHIE-S results showed a significant positive change, but the EQ-5D results showed practically no change. The additional expense of follow-up counselling at home was approximately 8.8% (€83 per visit) of the calculated €942 cost of fitting a HA. Bringing one unused HA into regular use required €508. The results show that HA use and the consequent benefit can be significantly increased through counselling. The expense caused by follow-up counselling at home is highly acceptable in addition to the cost of fitting a HA.

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Correspondence to Arja Vuorialho.

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Vuorialho, A., Karinen, P. & Sorri, M. Counselling of hearing aid users is highly cost-effective. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 263, 988–995 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00405-006-0104-0

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