This study investigated whether geriatric observers having varying amounts of experience with hearing aid users formed differential initial impressions of their peers who were shown in three conditions of hearing aid use, and whether the size of aid affected their ratings. Stimuli consisted of 36 photographic slides, three each of six men and six women shown wearing a body type hearing aid, a post-auricular type aid, and no aid. The stimuli were presented to 72 geriatric observers drawn from three groups: 24 with no prior hearing aid experience, 24 having some experience with a spouse, family member, or close friend who wore an aid, and 24 who were hearing aid users. The observers rated the 12 geriatrics on a 16-item semantic differential. Factor analysis of the ratings resulted in three factors: achievement, personality, and appearance. Analyses of variance revealed that none of the three observer groups rated the geriatrics lower on any of the three factors when they were shown wearing hearing aid. These findings indicate that these peer observers did not perceive a 'hearing aid effect' for the geriatric hearing aid wearers.
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