Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Use of the ‘patient journey’ model in the internet-based pre-fitting counseling of a person with hearing disability: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Vinaya KC Manchaiah12*, Dafydd Stephens3, Gerhard Andersson24, Jerker Rönnberg2 and Thomas Lunner25

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Long Term and Chronic Conditions, College of Human and Health Sciences, Swansea University, Room 167, Glyndwr Building, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom

2 Linnaeus Centre HEAD, The Swedish Institute for Disability Research, Department of Behavioral Science and Learning, Linköping University, SE-58183, Linköping, Sweden

3 Department of Psychological Medicine & Neurology, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF14 4XN, United Kingdom

4 Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

5 Eriksholm Research Centre, Oticon A/S, 20 Rørtangvej, DK-3070, Snekkersten, Denmark

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Trials 2013, 14:25  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-25

Published: 24 January 2013



Hearing impairment is one of the most frequent chronic conditions. Persons with a hearing impairment (PHI) have various experiences during their ‘journey’ through hearing loss. In our previous studies we have developed a ‘patient journey’ model of PHI and their communication partners (CPs). We suggest this model could be useful in internet-based pre-fitting counseling of a person with hearing disability (PHD).


A randomized controlled trial (RCT) with waiting list control (WLC) design will be used in this study. One hundred and fifty eight participants with self-reported hearing disability (that is, score >20 in the Hearing Handicap Questionnaire (HHQ)) will be recruited to participate in this study. They will be assigned to one of two groups (79 participants in each group): (1) Information and counseling provision using the ‘patient journey’ model; and (2) WLC. They will participate in a 30 day (4 weeks) internet-based counseling program based on the ‘patient journey’ model. Various outcome measures which focuses on hearing disability, depression and anxiety, readiness to change and acceptance of hearing disability will be administered pre (one week before) and post (one week and six months after) intervention to evaluate the effectiveness of counseling.


Internet-based counseling is being introduced as a viable option for audiological rehabilitation. We predict that the ‘patient journey’ model will have several advantages during counseling of a PHD. Such a program, if proven effective, could yield cost and time-efficient ways of managing hearing disability.

Trial registration Protocol Registration System NCT01611129.

Hearing loss; Hearing impairment; Hearing disability; Patient journey; Counseling; Audiological rehabilitation; Internet