The early diagnosis of hearing loss can be a life-changing event for families. Parents are required to make several prompt decisions where they might be overwhelmed with all the information being shared with them. Patient education materials (PEMs) are often provided by clinical health professionals – yet these materials are often written above the average reading level of adults in the United States, thus presenting an additional challenge to many parents.

The purpose of this study was to examine the ease of reading cochlear implant (CI) brochures that are provided to parents who are making informed decisions about the management of their child's hearing loss. The CI brochures analyzed include those from three Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved CI manufacturers: Advanced Bionics, Cochlear Americas, and MED-EL. Reading grade levels were analyzed using a commercially-available computer software program, applying six readability formulas commonly used to examine PEMs. Analyses revealed that the readability of the three CI brochures exceed the fifth- to sixth-grade reading levels recommended by health literacy experts. Audiology-focused PEMs continue to be created without full consideration of their reading grade level despite health literacy initiatives. Researchers should consider the health literacy skills of the reader when creating or revising PEMs such as CI brochures.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Cosby, Janel L.


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences


School of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Degree Program

Communication Sciences and Disorders



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date