Impression Formation of Male and Female Millennial Students Wearing Eye Glasses or Hearing Aids

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The purpose of this study was to examine impressions of persons wearing hearing aids (HA) and glasses. A survey consisting of impression formation measures was administered to 569 participants. Factor analysis and a series of T-tests were used to examine the effect of wearing glasses and hearing aids on first impressions. T-tests indicated significant differences between the control and glasses style for both the male and female model. Male and female control models (without glasses) were rated more positively. Another series of t-tests between hearing aid styles and the control indicated significant differences for the heavier, more visible hearing aid with the control model being rated higher on every factor except “reliable”. There were almost no significant differences between the control and the light, less visible hearing aid for either the male or the female. Correlations among traits differ as a function of both stimulus person and relevance of trait. Data indicates that different types of hearing aids stimulate varying impressions. The findings have implications for advising potential HA users who are disinclined to wear a device for cosmetic reasons. Findings support other literature on impression formation and the hearing aid effect. However, the findings are encouraging, as hearing aid use has historically been associated with an impression of lower cognitive function, yet participants did not indicate a significant perceptual difference between the hearing aid user and the control, possibly indicating stronger social acceptance.

Publication Title

Journal of Nonverbal Behavior