Identifying the requirements of a multimedia audiology training package for health and social care support workers

Chief investigator

Dr Lynzee McShea

Study team

Dr Melanie Ferguson
Dr David Maidment

Donna Corrigan (Sense)


NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU

Study period

September 2015 - present

Background and rationale

Adults with complex needs frequently rely on caregivers to manage their audiological needs. However, generic caregiver training does not provide the skills necessary to detect and manage hearing loss and the majority of caregivers have no formal training in hearing-related issues.

Recent research completed by the Chief Investigator, showed that caregiver training can improve audiological care for people with complex needs1. A training package (Hearing Champion Training; HCT), was designed collaboratively with caregivers, who expressed a preference for hands-on, personalised training. Several individuals with complex needs were diagnosed with hearing loss as a result. Although a face to face approach was successful and might be considered the ‘gold standard’ method of training, it is not easy to disseminate on a broader and national scale.

In contrast, a multimedia training programme is easily accessible. C2Hear is based on the concept of reusable learning objects (RLOs, short, visual chunks of learning for a specific goal) and is available via DVD or the internet (C2Hear Online)2. A randomised controlled trial (the HEAR-IT study) has shown C2Hear is successful in improving knowledge of practical and psychosocial aspects of hearing and communication, hearing aid skills, hearing aid use in suboptimal users and confidence. However, C2Hear was designed for first time hearing aid users and is not optimised for caregivers.

This research is a feasibility study that aims to inform a specification design for caregiver training delivered via multimedia RLOs.


A mixed methods approach will be used, with caregivers recruited via Sense (a national charity for people with dual sensory loss). Fourteen Sense caregivers have been trained as “hearing champions” and were asked to cascade HCT and C2Hear to their teams as they felt appropriate. The champions will individually participate in a follow-up study that aims to i) assess how they cascaded training to their colleagues and ii) identify the key elements of HCT and C2Hear that were beneficial from their perspective. The follow-up session will consist of two components:

In a later stage of the study, these themes will be used to form the basis of a quantitative questionnaire to be completed by a larger group of Sense caregivers to assess how training worked in the real-world settings. These findings will then inform specification design for multimedia caregiver training.


1McShea. L. 2015. ‘I will make a difference’–training caregivers to improve the hearing of adults with learning disabilities’. British Journal of Healthcare Assistants, 9, 124-217.Retrieved from

2Ferguson M.A., Brandreth M., Leighton P., & Wharrad H. 2015. "A Randomized Controlled Trial to Evaluate the Benefits of a Multimedia Educational Programme for First-time Hearing Aid Users". Ear and Hearing, EPubl ahead of print. Retrieved from