The ability to hear is an essential function of every person. With the help of hearing, we contact the world around us, perceive external sounds, and keep in touch with each other.
Hearing impairment leads to a decrease in the quality of life, distraction, weakening of brain activity, and the development of psychological problems.
Medical technical devices (hearing aids, cochlear-implants) restore hearing. In some cases, a person needs additional efforts to start hearing well again, since the brain has ceased to fully process sound signals. Auditory training will help to overcome such difficulties and return a person to a happy life!
What is the purpose of auditory training?
Before answering this question, you need to understand what happens to the human body with hearing loss, namely the brain. The brain is an amazing organ. It’s the “I”, the person’s personality. It analyzes and converts signals from the outside world into sounds.
The brain always adapts to a changing environment, developing or shutting down certain areas. This unique trait is essential for survival. Unfortunately, it also has a negative side. After all, the brain, not being able to analyze past signals from outside, simply turns off the parts of the brain, which are responsible for this. It also happens with hearing loss. With the gradual development of the problem, the brain turns off the areas responsible for the formation of sounds. What does this lead to?
When a person begins to use hearing aids or cochlear implants, he might continue to hear poorly. The problem of hearing the sounds has been fixed, but the brain has already forgotten how to correctly process signals from the ears. How do we fix such a situation? That’s right – it is necessary to re-teach the brain to correctly process the information it receives. Auditory training is exactly aimed at this!
Auditory training (or “aural rehabilitation”, “hearing exercises”) are activities aimed at training the brain to hear. Its purpose is to acquire hearing ability. Through continuous stimulation, training allows the patient to distinguish, recognize and match sounds.
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.
Today there are various methods, even those, which allow you to conduct auditory training at home. Special play programs for children help to teach kids, involving them in not only a useful but also an exciting process. Dr. Zhanneta Shapiro has highlighted the most effective and popular online hearing exercises that will be appreciated by both adults and children:
AB Listening Adventures
LACE Auditory Training
These apps for your gadgets will help you have a great time and train your brain!
Does auditory training really work?
Many people with hearing loss do not get immediate results from hearing training, or the results do not live up to their expectations. Of course, these people have a question: “Does auditory training work? Isn’t this a myth?” The results of auditory training for adults depend on various factors:
Individual auditory characteristics
Involvement of the patient in the learning process
Type of hearing aid or cochlear implant, etc
However, auditory training solutions certainly improve the ability to hear ambient sounds and speech. New scientific research is underway to support information.
The effectiveness of various sensorimotor functions (for example, hearing and vision) is highly flexible and can vary. An effective way to improve the feature is to participate in activities aimed at training various types of perception. Research has shown that auditory training improves speech recognition in noisy environments by 25 percent among people with total or partial hearing loss!
Another academic study evaluated the benefits of the auditory training program. At the end of the study, the scientists received positive results. Thus, all participants in the experiment reported an improvement in their ability to recognize speech.
Scientists from Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust came to surprising conclusions. Their research showed that auditory training for adults not only improves the performance of hearing aids / cochlear-implants but also improves memory performance and attention.
It should be noted that auditory training is a young trend in audiology compared to other methods of hearing restoration. Therefore, there is not much research in this area. But they all tell us only one thing – auditory training really improves hearing. Therefore, such recovery programs are simply irreplaceable for people with hearing loss of any degree.
Who is a candidate for auditory training?
Auditory training for mild hearing loss restores the brain’s lost ability to perceive sound. Hence, the prime candidates for hearing exercises are adults and children with hearing aids / cochlear implants and those suffering from hearing problems such as auditory processing disorder.
Auditory training is the right solution for achieving the best treatment results since the devices do not immediately restore hearing to its original function. It’s especially true for cochlear implants. Just using an implant or hearing aid is not enough. The device must be adjusted so that the patient can hear comfortably. In this case, the patient needs time to learn how to correctly interpret the sounds entering the ear. This requires auditory training.
Auditory training is very important for people with an auditory processing disorder. Their hearing organs function normally, but their brains find it difficult to process information. Hearing exercises help you identify sounds, distinguish them, and develop listening skills.
Some audiologists suggest that aural rehabilitation may also be helpful for patients with autism spectrum disorders. While this treatment is not officially approved by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it may be an option. Auditory training can help patients, which are sensitive to auditory stimuli, communicate with the world around them. In addition, aural rehabilitation improves communication skills and helps patients feel more comfortable in noisy environments.
Hearing loss is a serious problem faced by thousands of Americans every year. However, don’t be discouraged if you encounter the problem. Today, many effective solutions restore lost abilities. The main thing is to turn to specialists in time for help and very soon, you will hear the voices of loved ones again!
About Dr Zhanneta Shapiro
Dr Zhanneta Shapiro received her Masters of Science from Brooklyn College in 2005 and completed her Doctorate of Audiology from Florida University in May 2008. Her graduate training was in various hospitals in the tri-state area and a residency period completed at Ear Nose and Throat Associates of New York. [ Learn More ]