Hearing loss is a serious problem, one that can decrease your quality of life rather quickly. But with the right amount of exercise for your ears, you can keep your hearing strong and your risk of losing your hearing low.
Regardless of if you are already experiencing a bit of hearing loss or you are just taking preventative measures for the future, here are some of the best apps and games that can help you maintain your hearing.
Apps and Online Programs
These apps or online programs have been developed to assist individuals in developing stronger listening habits, distinguishing between sounds, or encourage more efficient thinking.
1. AB CLIX
The CLIX app is created by Advanced Bionics and designed for adults who already wear hearing aids or have cochlear implants. When you begin using the app, you will take a placement test to establish your current level and how intensive your studying should be.
Then, the app provides you with listening drills where you are required to distinguish between vowels, consonants and other sounds. The app also gives you the ability to practice in both quiet or busy areas and provides you with scores for each of your practice sessions. These scores are them compiled into a progress chart so you can get a quick overview of how well the app is helping your hearing.
The AB CLIX app is available for iPad only.
2. AB Listening Adventures
AB Listening Adventures is another app created by Advanced Bionics, this time designed for children between the ages of 4 and 10. Using story-based games, Listening Adventures teaches children to listen for things like pronouns and plurals, all wrapped into a fun games where they don’t even realize they are exercising their ears.
AB Listening Adventures is also only available for iPad.
3. VocAB Scenes
Advanced Bionics created VocAB Scenes as an app to assist children between 4 and 10 in learning new vocabulary words. The app uses interesting scenes to create games that can help children improve language development. Scenes include a pet store, swimming pool, beach, and winter, just to name a few.
Like the other Advanced Bionics apps, VocAB Scenes is only available for iPad.
4. LACE Auditory Training
Designed for both children and adults, LACE is an online program that provides users with a daily task that can promote hearing and communication skills. Available for the computer, or on Android and Apple devices, LACE training programs are great for anyone.
Each session is designed to be completed in about 20 minutes, making it an easy step to add to any daily routine.
Forbrain comes with its own bone conduction headphone and microphone set that can be used by both children and adults. Users of Forbrain speak out loud or talk with another person into the headset and microphone, which in turn helps the user improve their pronunciation and elocution. It can also help users develop stronger attention spans, better memories, or concentrate more efficiently.
To use Forbrain, you must purchase their special microphone and headset.
HAPPYneuron is a brain game, which can assist in reducing hearing loss by lowering the risk of anxiety or depression. The app uses games that encourage the user to concentrate harder, which in turn pushes them to remember, react, and think more efficiently. As they get better at their games, their confidence will increase.
HAPPYneuron also has a system of games that focus on sounds, so they are additionally beneficial for someone suffering hearing loss.
Lumosity is a free app that can be found on Apple products or can be accessed online through a membership. The program gives users a “workouts” for the brain, scientifically designed by neuropsychological researchers.
Although Lumosity does not have hearing specific games, strengthening the brain as a whole can reduce hearing loss triggers and encourage the individual to develop better concentration skills to be applied to listening.
There are also a number of ways that an individual can strengthen their hearing without the use of screens, tablets or computers.
1. Simulate Noisy Environments
You don’t need an app or computer game to help you simulate noisy environments to practice distinguishing sounds. Have a friend or a family member talk to you while the radio or television is playing. This can help you focus on what the other individual is saying and practice tuning out the background noise at the same time.
2. Play a Guessing Game
This practicing activity also involves the assistance of a loved one or a friend. Sit in the middle of a room with your eyes closed and ask your partner to move around the room making different noises in different areas. See if you can distinguish what the noise was and what area the noise came from.
3. Focus on Sounds
If you don’t have a partner that can help, you can use the sounds of your environment to help boost your hearing. Sit in a busy place and close your eyes. Pick out one sound and focus on it. Image what is causing that sound and take in as much of that single noise as you can. After a few moments, find another noise to focus on. This practice can help your brain recognize different sounds and noises so when you are in a normal setting, you can better distinguish them apart from the noise you are trying to hear.
Hearing loss is no joke, and once your hearing is gone, it can be difficult to get back. That is why it is incredibly important to take care of your hearing and maintain what you have before it is gone. If you are having trouble distinguishing sounds or hearing certain noises, it may be time to start practicing and exercising your ears. Just a few minutes of practice each day can help you fight off hearing loss in the long run and you’ll thank yourself in years to come.