Aural rehabilitation is the gold standard of audiological care.
At Audiology Island, we make sure to not only educate our patients about aural hearing aid technology but additional aural rehab that is needed in order to become a successful hearing aid user. In the past decade, we have had tremendous growth in the hearing aid industry. What this means, is that hearing aid manufacturing companies, have developed devices that not only amplify sound but control the environment around you with incredible speed.
Patients often experience tooth decay because of inappropriate nutritional habits, poor oral care at home or genetics leading to many cavities. Before creating a treatment plan, the dental professional will extensively review the patient’s medical history and their daily routine in efforts to detect any underlying issues such as medical ailments that may be the reason for exaggerated decay formation. According to collected information, a proper course of treatment is chosen including suitable dental materials most beneficial to the individual needs of each patient.
This of course is very important for a hearing aid user. Individuals that have hearing loss, have a difficult time hearing in noise, and if a device can clean up a speech signal as it brings it to the person’s ears, it seems like there is nothing more we can ask for. Despite how effective hearing aids have become, it is still vital to stress that the brain is what is doing the listening. At Audiology Island, we try to explain things to each patient and their family that your ears are the highway, but your brain is the main castle. To get to the castle you have to have a device such as a hearing aid, but all the magic will happen in your brain. Our processing of the world around us occurs in the brain and just relying on the hearing aids is not enough.
Aural rehabilitation is a way to teach your brain the needed skills in order to make your everyday conversations easier. If we can achieve this, then your listening fatigue and the energy that your brain uses to simply be part of a conversation can be diminished. Many of us have heard the term speech therapy, but we do not always relate that to hearing. Well, aural rehabilitation speech therapy, may seem like a run-on concept but in fact is a wonderful experience that we can offer our patients. To be more specific, aural therapy teaches the individual with hearing loss as well as their family members effective ways to communicate. This means, depending on your individual needs a rehab program is designed and together with a professional will be implemented in a way that suits everyone’s lifestyle. Dealing with a newly identified hearing loss is not an easy task, group aural rehabilitation classes allow people to connect and support one another with the skillful guidance of our audiologists. Realizing that many people go through similar emotions and changes in their lifestyles due to a hearing impairment takes off a lot of pressure and a change in the attitude will lead to a happier and more successful hearing aid user. Aside from this important emotional support, there are also many practical day to day skills that individuals with hearing loss need to be aware of. Although some of these strategies appear simple, it is not something that needed to be thought of before a hearing loss. Let’s take a look at a scenario such as walking into your favorite restaurant and finding it way too noisy to enjoy your dinner.
Despite the hearing aid technology that you may be wearing, it can still seem overwhelming, the advice is not to walk out but to troubleshoot effectively. We can go through various exercises on where is the best place to sit and the type of things that must be considered (for example, lighting, kitchen and entryway proximity to the table). Going through such exercises as well as practicing proper techniques to ask for repetition, the individual with hearing loss as well as their significant other learn to change some of their communicative strategies and quickly get back to their lifestyles that they may feel have been previously altered by the effects of hearing loss.
We offer group aural rehabilitation classes – this allows the patient and their significant other to meet with individuals that are in similar situation and go through various strategies in improving communication as well as learning about hearing aid care. We also offer individual aural rehabilitation classes- this is tailored specifically to the individual and a plan of action is out into place for the 10 sessions. Some examples may include working on speech reading, practicing effective repair strategies when a communication difficulty occurs and even going out into the real world (ex. restaurant, kitchen) and putting your skills into action.
We offer online programs, for example CLEAR is a great program that works on listening in noise and utilizing your knowledge of language to fill in the missing bits and pieces that may occur during a conversation.
Not every individual will need classes, however, even if you are doing wonderfully with your hearing device, your audiologist should still be able to provide proper counseling during your regular hearing aid fitting appointments. This counseling should involve at least 3 goals that are specific to your lifestyle and make sure that your hearing needs have been addressed.
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If you have recently gotten hearing aids or have hearing aids for many years, there is always room for an improved and an effective way to communicate. We all know hearing is a quality of life issue, and at Audiology Island we value this important concept. When choosing your hearing aid devices, do not be afraid to request more from your audiologist. We understand that no matter how good the hearing device it is still the aural rehabilitation techniques that will make the magic happen. Effective communication and getting back to where you were prior to hearing loss may seem like an impossible task, but with the proper tools it will not be. It is a very realistic expectation and as long as you are willing to take that step, we are here to help you in your hearing journey.