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Information about hyperacusis presented online (Smith et al. 2020)

journal contribution
posted on 2020-09-18, 18:27 authored by Sandra N Smith, Ethan Smallwood, Magdalena Sereda, Bethany Adams, Derek J. Hoare
Purpose: Hyperacusis is a disorder characterized by reduced sound tolerance leading to ear pain, emotional distress, and reduced quality of life. Many people with hyperacusis turn to the Internet for information and support from online communities to discuss their condition. The purpose of this study was to assess the content and quality of hyperacusis information presented online.
Method: The three most used Internet search engines were used to identify relevant websites using the single search term hyperacusis. Fifteen websites were selected for analysis. Details of the purpose, audience, and content of each website were extracted using a bespoke data extraction form. The quality of the information on each website was rated using the validated DISCERN questionnaire.
Results: There was a wide disparity in the quality and content of hyperacusis information across websites. The website Hyperacusis Focus achieved the highest overall DISCERN score. Hyperacusis Focus and U.K. National Health Service websites were the most comprehensive online resources for health care professionals and patients, respectively. Wikipedia was judged useful for both health care professionals and patients. In general, hyperacusis-related information was accurate. However, no single website provided a complete account of hyperacusis, and some were judged to be selective in the information they provided.
Conclusions: The Internet provides an important source of information for those who have hyperacusis and those who care for them. Revisions to the websites reviewed here are needed for each to provide a complete account of hyperacusis.

Supplemental Material S1. Data extraction form.

Supplemental Material S2. Detailed information about the 15 included websites.

Supplemental Material S3. Signs and symptoms of hyperacusis.

Supplemental Material S4. Onset/causes.

Supplemental Material S5. Associated conditions.

Supplemental Material S6. Treatments for hyperacusis.

Supplemental Material S7. DISCERN scores.

Smith, S. N., Smallwood, E., Sereda, M., Adams, B., & Hoare, D. J. (2020). The content and quality of information about hyperacusis presented online. American Journal of Audiology, 29(3S), 623-630.

Publisher Note: This article is part of the Special Issue: 4th International Meeting on Internet and Audiology.


S. S., M. S., B. A., and D. J. H. are funded through the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre program.