Year 2021
September 2021


Abstract Title
Would Aesthetic Alterations of Hearing Devices Improve Patient’s Adherence?



Tan Tock Seng Hospital1

Background & Hypothesis

Hearing aids (HA) improves accessibility and quality of life for people with hearing loss (HL). However, the distinctly medical aesthetic of these devices can leave some patients reluctant to wear them due to perceived stigma. To examine the subjective factors of aesthetic alterations of HA that may boost patients’ adherence.


Prospective, cross-sectional study. 14 sets of photographs depicting different styles of hearing/listening devices were presented without manufacturers’ branding or labels. Respondents were asked to rate their willingness to wear them to improve hearing. 140 hearing-impaired patients (mean age: 69) and 79 caregivers (mean age: 54) were recruited at a tertiary hospital’s ENT outpatient clinic between July to November 2020.


Among all HA styles, CIC registered the highest acceptance level, with 89% of patients willing to wear. This is followed by RIC, with 88% of patients’ acceptance. Only 59% of patients were willing to wear BTE. Acceptance levels for caregivers were similar to patients’ (RIC: 100%, CIC: 86%, BTE: 32%). The most commonly cited reasons for acceptance by both patients and caregivers were: (1) the device’s perceived small size and discreetness and, (2) how the device might help them hear better. 58% of patients and 54% of caregivers reported willingness to wear a HA that resembles recreational devices such as Apple AirPods or wireless in-earphones. Interestingly, 92% of patients and caregivers reported willingness to wear HA which resembles and worn like corrective eyeglasses.

Discussion & Conclusion

Innovative styling of HA to resemble eyewear or recreational listening devices may improve patients’ willingness to wear them.