DOI: 10.1111/bjhp.12689 ISSN:

A qualitative study assessing the barriers and facilitators to physical activity in adults with hearing loss

Maria V. Goodwin, Eef Hogervorst, David W. Maidment
  • Applied Psychology
  • General Medicine



Growing epidemiological evidence has shown hearing loss is associated with physical inactivity. Currently, there is a dearth in evidence investigating why this occurs. This study aimed to investigate the barriers and facilitators to physical activity in middle‐aged and older adults with hearing loss.


Individual semi‐structured qualitative interviews.


A phenomenological approach was taken. Ten adults (≥40 years) were interviewed via videoconferencing. The interview schedule was underpinned by the capability, opportunity, motivation and behaviour (COM‐B) model. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to generate themes, which were subsequently mapped onto the COM‐B model and behaviour change wheel.


Nine hearing loss specific themes were generated, which included the following barriers to physical activity: mental fatigue, interaction with the environment (acoustically challenging environments, difficulties with hearing aids when physically active) and social interactions (perceived stigma). Environmental modifications (digital capabilities of hearing aids), social support (hearing loss‐only groups) and hearing loss self‐efficacy were reported to facilitate physical activity.


Middle‐aged and older adults with hearing loss experience hearing‐specific barriers to physical activity, which has a deleterious impact on their overall health and well‐being. Interventions and public health programmes need to be tailored to account for these additional barriers. Further research is necessary to test potential behaviour change techniques.

More from our Archive