Feasibility of Utilizing Amplified Hearing Devices in Acute Care Settings for Patients with Hearing Loss

Background: Hearing loss affects over 50 percent of the American population aged 74 and older. Patients with hearing loss have double the risk of nonadherence when taking multiple medications due to miscommunication. Patients often come to the hospital without their hearing aids. This is often secondary to the urgency of admission to the hospital, although some patients choose not to bring them in fear of them getting lost, stolen or broken. An amplified hearing device (AHD) may be an inexpensive stopgap to maximize important communications between providers and the patient. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the feasibility and acceptability of AHD use in the inpatient setting. Methods: The modified Donabedian framework was applied (Figure-1). Twenty-five patients and fifteen nurses were enrolled on two inpatient units in a level 1 hospital in the southeastern United States. Patients met inclusion criteria if they were; oriented, unrestrained, spoke English, scored a 10 or higher on the Hearing Handicap Inventory for the Elderly Screening version and were able to use the AHD independently. Patients were assessed for hearing history and satisfaction with AHD at discharge. Nurses were assessed for their satisfaction with the AHD improving communications with the patient, and whether nurses perceived the AHD to decrease time spent with patients. Survey measurements used: Satisfaction (1-10) and time (minutes or percentage) Findings: 96% of patients reported satisfaction and stated they would utilize the device again in future hospitalizations. All fifteen nurses reported satisfaction using the device, felt it improved patient communications, and decreased time spent communicating with the patient. Conclusion: Results demonstrate the feasibility and acceptability of using an AHD in an acute care setting. This study was the basis for a larger prospective study to further investigate AHD use in the inpatient setting with elderly hard of hearing patients.

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