Personality Type and Self-perception of Hearing Aid Benefit

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Hearing aid benefit is frequently assessed using subjective measures in which the patient is asked to respond to a series of questions regarding how much benefit they feel they are receiving from their hearing aids. Previous research has shown that audiological factors are related to the amount of self-reported benefit from hearing aids, but these factors do not explain all of the variance in hearing aid benefit scores. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the relationship between several non-audiological factors, including personality, mood, and gender, to self-reports of hearing aid benefit.

Measures of hearing aid benefit, personality, and mood were obtained from 20 older adult listeners with sensorineural hearing loss who were experienced hearing aid users. The two measures of hearing aid benefit were the Hearing Aid Performance Inventory (HAPI) (Walden, Demorest, & Hepler, 1984) and the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit (APHAB) (Cox & Alexander, 1995); the two measures of personality were the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers & McCaulley, 1985) and the Keirsey Four Types Sorter (Keirsey, 1998); and the mood assessment was the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (Watson, Clark & Tellegen, 1988). The results demonstrated significant relationships between extraversion/introversion and self-reported hearing aid benefit, and between mood and self-reported hearing aid benefit. Overall, the measures of mood, Keirsey personality type, and gender were predictors of difficulty communicating in a reverberant environment while wearing hearing aids, and accounted for 71 percent of the variance on this subscale.

The results of this study have provided evidence that self-reported hearing aid benefit is associated with certain non-audiological factors including extraversion/introversion preference, certain Keirsey personality types, mood, and gender. Although these factors explained a relatively small amount of the variance in HAPI and APHAB scores, they still provide support for the notion that the amount of benefit an older adult individual reportedly receives from his or her hearing aids is not entirely dependent on hearing sensitivity, but on other attributes that characterize an individual. The findings suggest that certain dimensions of personality should be considered when developing an individualized treatment plan for a patient prior to hearing aid delivery.