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The Aging Hand and the Ergonomics of Hearing Aid Controls
University of Toronto, Canada and Toronto Rehabil Institute, Canada .
Linköping University, Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Disability Research. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (HEAD)
Unitron Hearing Ltd., Kitchener, Canada.
University of Toronto, Canada .
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2013 (English)In: Ear and Hearing, ISSN 0196-0202, E-ISSN 1538-4667, Vol. 34, no 1, E1-E13 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objectives: The authors investigated the effects of hand function and aging on the ability to manipulate different hearing instrument controls. Over the past quarter century, hearing aids and hearing aid controls have become increasingly miniaturized. It is important to investigate the aging hand and hearing aid ergonomics because most hearing aid wearers are adults aged 65 years and above, who may have difficulty handling these devices. less thanbrgreater than less thanbrgreater thanDesign: In Experiment 1, the effect of age on the ability to manipulate two different open-fit behind-the-ear style hearing aids was investigated by comparing the performance of 20 younger (18-25 years of age), 20 young-old (60-70 years of age), and 20 older adults (71-80 years of age). In Experiment 2, ability to manipulate 11 different hearing instrument controls was investigated in 28 older adults who self-reported having arthritis in their hand, wrist, or finger and 28 older adults who did not report arthritis. For both experiments, the relationship between performance on the measures of ability to manipulate the devices and performance on a battery of tests to assess hand function was investigated. less thanbrgreater than less thanbrgreater thanResults: In Experiment 1, age-related differences in performance were observed in all the tasks assessing hand function and in the tasks assessing ability to manipulate a hearing aid. In Experiment 2, although minimal differences were observed between the two groups, significant differences were observed depending on the type of hearing instrument control. Performance on several of the objective tests of hand function was associated with the ability to manipulate hearing instruments. less thanbrgreater than less thanbrgreater thanConclusions: The overall pattern of findings suggest that haptic (touch) sensitivity in the fingertips and manual dexterity, as well as disability, pain, and joint stiffness of the hand, all contribute to the successful operation of a hearing instrument. However, although aging is associated with declining hand function and co-occurring declines in ability to manipulate a hearing instrument, for the sample of individuals in this study, including those who self-reported having arthritis, only minimal declines were observed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins , 2013. Vol. 34, no 1, E1-E13 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-87457DOI: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e31825f9bbaISI: 000312639800001PubMedID: 22971815OAI: diva2:589494

Funding Agencies|Unitron Hearing Ltd.||

Available from: 2013-01-18 Created: 2013-01-18 Last updated: 2013-01-31

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Pichora-Fuller, Kathleen M
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Disability ResearchFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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