Aural rehabilitation includes practices and programs that help individuals with hearing loss participate more fully in activities that may have been limited due to their condition. Aural rehabilitation helps patients adapt to their environment and reclaim their confidence in participating in daily-life tasks with renewed enthusiasm and certainty.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, aural rehabilitation practices have been very beneficial in helping patients:
- Make their experience with hearing difficulties easier to manage
- Improve their perception of quality of life
- Improve the way they use hearing technology
- Improve the way they adapt to living with hearing loss
Aural rehabilitation starts with a thorough audiological evaluation to determine the severity and type of hearing loss experienced by the patient. At the end of a detailed audiological evaluation at Advanced Audiology Care, Dr. Fan may prescribe the use of a hearing device or cochlear implant for the patient to help them begin the rehabilitation process.
A needs assessment is done to help patients identify essential experiences in life where the loss of hearing causes crucial issues. In most cases, these are experiences where patients have to understand speech in the presence of background noise, which makes focusing on details not just challenging but also exhausting. A breakdown of communication in such a situation is inevitable and demoralizing for the one experiencing hearing loss.
The technology utilized for hearing aids today can help to handle background noise with the following features:
- Automatic switching
- Directional microphones and noise filtering
- Smartphone applications
Dr. Fan can help you understand and experience the best that hearing aid technology offers with programming adjustments that work for your specific needs.
Needs Assessments actively involve the patient in the process of determining the situations and areas where they need help in dealing with hearing loss. This helps make the patient an active participant in their rehabilitation process and gives them confidence about their ability to handle socially stressful situations in the future.
Aural rehabilitation informs patients on specific strategies for taking charge of communication in social situations for better results. These strategies are made part of the patients’ hearing loss management plan. Some of the strategies that patients can try include:
- Using assistive listening devices
- Enrolling in online auditory training sessions (like LACE®) to build stamina for listening or sustained attention
- Identifying restorative steps to relax and recharge
- Being part of peer support groups to build confidence, skill sets, and social support
- Face-to-face coaching with auditory training specialist (e.g., Audiologist, speech/language pathologist)
Communication strategies designed to take charge of communication in social situations include:
- Securing the attention of the person you want to talk to by saying their name out loud, touching a shoulder or arm lightly, or standing in front of them to make direct eye contact.
- Ensuring that you face the person you are speaking to so that facial clues are not missed.
- Speaking clearly, not loudly.
- Repeating a phrase or sentence without feeling frustrated. Simply speaking clearly and repeating a phrase or sentence can sometimes make a huge difference.
- Avoiding the more noisy areas in a room. For example, the middle of a busy restaurant is likely to be the loudest point in the room. Asking for a quieter corner can help minimize background noise.