Research Article  |   December 2012
Hearing Aid Instruction Booklets: Employing Usability Testing to Determine Effectiveness
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sarah Isherwood
    University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Nicholas C. Herbert
    University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • David K. Raynor
    University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • Peter Knapp
    University of York, United Kingdom
  • Correspondence to Ruth E. Brooke: r.e.brooke@leeds.ac.uk
  • Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes
    Editor and Associate Editor: Larry Humes×
Hearing Disorders / Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Research Article
Research Article   |   December 2012
Hearing Aid Instruction Booklets: Employing Usability Testing to Determine Effectiveness
American Journal of Audiology December 2012, Vol.21, 206-214. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0008)
History: Accepted 02 Jun 2012 , Received 13 Feb 2012 , Revised 25 May 2012
American Journal of Audiology December 2012, Vol.21, 206-214. doi:10.1044/1059-0889(2012/12-0008)
History: Accepted 02 Jun 2012 , Received 13 Feb 2012 , Revised 25 May 2012

Purpose: This study implemented performance-based usability and literature testing to determine whether people could use 2 instruction booklets for hearing aids (HAs) to carry out basic maintenance tasks and find and understand key facts.

Method: Using a cross-sectional study design, researchers recruited 40 participants (25 women, 15 men, ages 46–72 years) with no experience of HAs or audiology services to test instruction booklets for a Danalogic and Unitron HA (20 participants each). Participants were asked to follow instructions provided within the booklets to complete common HA tasks (e.g., cleaning the HA and mold and changing the battery) and demonstrate understanding of information. Participants' views of the booklets were then obtained within a short individual interview.

Results: Participants experienced problems in completing all tasks while following instructions provided by the Danalogic and Unitron booklets. Individual interviews highlighted further issues regarding layout, diagrams, and content, including missing information.

Conclusions: Some HA instruction booklets contain information that some users may find difficult to find, understand, and follow. These limitations may negatively impact on HA satisfaction and use. It is recommended that written information for clients be evaluated prior to use. This study supports the premise that performance-based usability and literature testing are appropriate methods to use.

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