Gabrielle (Gaby) Saunders

Research Area Manager

This study evaluated the quality and readability of English-language websites regarding hearing impairment and its most common form of treatment. A total of 66 websites were retrieved in May 2011 and assessed for their quality and readability.
Hearing impaired adults and their signifikant others searching for information on the website

Identification of websites

Two keyword pairs (‘hearing loss’ and ‘hearing aids’) were entered into five country-specific versions of the most commonly used Internet search engine in May 2011. For each of the 10 searches, the first 10 relevant websites were included. After removing duplicates, a total of 66 websites were assessed. Their origin (commercial, non-profit organisation, or government), date of last update, quality (Health On the Net -HON-certification and DISCERN scores), and readability (Flesch Reading Ease Score, Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula, and Simple Measure Of Gobbledygook) were assessed.

Quality of the websites

Most websites were of commercial origin and had been updated within the last 18 months. Their quality and readability was highly variable. Only 14% of the websites had HON certification. Websites that were of non-profit organisation origin had significantly higher (i.e. better) DISCERN scores.

Readability of the websites

Readability measures show that on average, only people with at least 11-12 years of education could read and understand the Internet information presented. Based on the results, recommendations were proposed for website developers and clinicians wishing to incorporate Internet information into their practice.

Further reading

Laplante-Lévesque A, Brännström KJ, Andersson G, & Lunner T (2012). Quality and readability of English-language Internet information for adults with hearing impairment and their significant others. International Journal of Audiology, 51, p. 618-626.

Learn more

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    Quality and readability of English-language internet information for adults with hearing impairment and their significant others

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    Dr Google: Quality and readability of English language Internet information on hearing impairment and hearing aids