If you have ever researched hearing loss or been fitted for hearing aids, you might have heard the terms aural rehabilitation or audiologic rehabilitation. These terms refer to the process of learning to adjust to hearing loss, the best use of hearing devices (including hearing aids), and how to help you and others in difficult communication situations.
Visiting a hearing health professional is the first step. You will discuss their approach to aural rehabilitation. How do they test your hearing? What type of hearing loss do you have? What happens after you purchase hearing aids or a hearing device? How are family members included in the process? A good professional will go over a comprehensive hearing health plan with you.
What is included in Aural Rehabilitation programs?
Not all programs and providers are alike, but here are some topics that are usually covered.
Hearing loss and the type of hearing aid of hearing assistive device: Understanding your hearing loss and the type of device that will help you is critical. Because every person’s hearing loss is different, hearing devices are customized to fit and adjust to you and only you. Once your hearing aid has arrived, you will visit your provider to have it programmed and to learn how to use and care for your hearing aid.
Reintroducing sounds: With new hearing aids or hearing devices, you will encounter the process of relearning sounds that have been unheard for some period of time. As hearing loss has occurred your brain has adjusted and will need time to re-adjust. (See our article about adjusting to your hearing aids).
Advice for family members and communication tips for common situations: It is important that you and your loved ones understand that not all situations are created alike. For example, if you have trouble hearing in a crowded room, it may be best to try a different space where you can speak one on one. Even with hearing aids, talking with a full mouth or out of visual sight of a person with hearing loss, may make it difficult to communicate. If you have trouble in specific situations, be sure to ask your hearing care provider for tips to help you master these problematic areas.
Listening games: if you’re technologically inclined or enjoy playing games there are some mobile applications that can help. Starkey Hearing Technologies has an app for the iPhone called Hear Coach which can be downloaded for free once your hearing aids have been registered. This app was created to help challenge your auditory skills and improve listening skills in noisy situations, making communication easier and more effective.
It is important for you and your loved ones to understand your hearing loss and how to adjust so you can have the best quality of life possible. If you have questions about aural rehabilitation or hearing loss, please contact us. We can review your current hearing care plan or do a (free) hearing evaluation so you can be on your way to better hearing!