Behaviour Change in the Wild – Reflections on a Large Scale Campaign Using RNID’s Online Hearing Check

Authors: Crystal Rolfe1, Lydia O’Connor1, Lola Russell1

1Royal National Institute for Deaf People

Background: In the UK, an estimated 7 million adults could benefit from hearing aids but only about 2 million people use them. People are often slow to notice their own hearing loss and, once suspected, it can take years before they seek help.

Methods: The RNID hearing check uses an online version of the English Digit Triplets Test. It is accessible via web browser on desktop and mobile devices. The user is encouraged to wear headphones and complete the check in a quiet environment to improve the reliability of results. The check takes around 3 minutes to complete. An adaptive procedure estimates the speech reception threshold (SRT). Users with SRT ≥ -9 dB SNR are flagged as having ‘signs of hearing loss’, provided with information about their options for next steps and invited to sign up for a curated email journey. Different behaviour change methods and user interaction designs have been tested since September 2022 to continuously improve the check as a behaviour change tool. People who are showing signs of hearing loss and signed up to RNID emails were invited to complete a survey at 6 weeks and 12 weeks after completing the hearing check.

Results: As of May 2024, around half of the more than 390,000 people completing the check showed possible signs of hearing loss. In March 2024, 51% of respondents to the 12-week survey had an in-person hearing test following the completion of the RNID hearing check, up from 40% the year before. Similarly, there was an increase from 41% to 50% of respondents speaking to a health professional.

Conclusions: Hosting a free online English Digit Triplets Test combined with behaviour change techniques can be an effective behaviour change tool to encourage more people to check their hearing and take further action.