Measuring the impact of illness perception on NHS audiology service usage in presbycusis patients – a feasibility study

Lisa E. Wolber, Helen Pryce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Coping behaviour in adult hearing loss is still not well understood. Despite the high prevalence of hearing loss in those over 65, many people do not seek help for hearing loss. The common sense model of illness perceptions suggests that illness perceptions are a strong predictor of adapted coping behaviours, including help-seeking and take-up of treatments. This study aimed to determine the feasibility of using the brief illness perceptions questionnaire (bIPQ) to measure the impact of illness perception in predicting usage of NHS audiology services. Study design: Twenty-four volunteers were recruited from a standard NHS audiology outpatient clinic and illness perception was measured using the bIPQ. Two different recruitment strategies were explored and compared in terms of recruitment and retention rates. Comprehensibility of the questionnaire was assessed by Think Aloud Analysis in a subset of participants, while possible risks and burdens were monitored in structured telephone interviews. Results: The questionnaire is a comprehensive and quick tool to measure individual illness perception at minimal cost. We suggested minor adaptations of three questionnaire items to increase comprehension. Participants preferred to complete the questionnaire after their appointment at the clinic facilities rather than at home prior to their hearing assessment appointment. There were no identified risks or burdens to participants in this study. Conclusions: This approach met our criteria for feasibility. Understanding the impact of illness perception on patients’ coping behaviour in presbycusis could improve treatment outcomes and increase patient satisfaction, while promoting a more efficient and individualized audiology service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-29
Number of pages14
JournalHearing, Balance and Communication
Issue number1
Early online date6 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Hearing, Balance and Communication on 6/12/16, available online:


  • audiology
  • coping
  • illness perceptions
  • presbycusis


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