Can Audiologists Use Behavior Change Models and Approaches to Improve Patient Care?

As part of their clinical practice, audiologists may make recommendations that require behavior changes from their patients (e.g., wearing hearing protection, using hearing aids). Unfortunately, not all patients follow through with these recommendations. In fact, some individuals who could potentially benefit from hearing healthcare services may not even make take the steps necessary to present for an initial visit to receive these recommendations.

This lack of adherence to treatment recommendations is not unique to hearing healthcare. In fact, the literature is replete with examples of patients who have failed to start and/or maintain a health-related behavior change (e.g., starting and maintaining an exercise program, stopping problematic drinking, smoking cessation).

Recognizing this issue, other disciplines have developed models to understand the behavior change process and have recommended approaches to help support patients in making behavior changes. Recently, researchers have examined the potential of applying some of these models and approaches to hearing healthcare. This session will review the scientific literature regarding these models and approaches in order to answer the question as to whether or not audiologists can use them to improve patient care.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe theories of health behavior change that have been presented in the scientific hearing healthcare literature; and
  2. Discuss the scientific evidence regarding the applications of these models in understanding health behavior change; and
  3. Describe the various factors that may influence a patient when it comes to initiating and maintaining a behavior change.