Most individuals who live with the daily challenges of hearing loss are able to benefit from technology, such as hearing aids, a cochlear implant, or some type of assistive listening device. However, the degree to which each person benefits from their technology will vary, depending on the type and severity of the hearing loss. Your audiologist will be able to help you determine if further assistance, in the form of aural rehabilitation, is needed.
AR provides an opportunity to further explore how hearing loss impacts your ability to successfully communicate. You and your audiologist will work together to identify communication challenges. Then, a rehabilitation plan will be established. Each person’s communication needs are different, but here are a few examples of what we can offer:
Communication Strategy Training
Most individuals with hearing loss find that their old ways of communicating no longer work. For example, there may have been a point in your life when you could understand someone who was talking to you from another room. But today, even with your hearing aid(s) or cochlear implant that is no longer possible. You and your audiologist will explore different factors that influence your ability to understand, and you will learn to have more control over different communication situations.
Often, individuals with hearing loss do not want to draw attention to themselves by telling people around them about their hearing loss. The irony in this is that those people have likely already figured it out! So, why not become more comfortable talking to others about your hearing loss and learn how to educate those around you about your communication needs? You may find this a bit scary at first, but with the support of your audiologist you will learn how to phrase things in an assertive way so people have a better understanding of your communication challenges and will be willing to help you. It takes two to communicate. If you don’t help others understand your communication needs, then they will keep on communicating with you the best way they know how; which isn’t necessarily what’s best for you.
Adjusting to new hearing technology isn’t always quick and easy. Your audiologist will create a plan that includes listening exercises, combined with communication strategy and self-advocacy training. Weekly meetings lasting 1-hour provide dedicated time for you to practice your listening skills. Often, new cochlear implant users find auditory training to be particularly helpful as they adjust to the new sounds they are hearing.
Are you having difficulty understanding people at work, even with your hearing technology? This is not unusual. An audiologist from our department will visit your work place to determine what factors are contributing to communication breakdowns. A report with recommendations will be provided to you and anyone else you wish to share it with.
Many years ago, before hearing technology improved to the point it is now, lipreading was taught to individuals with significant hearing loss. It was a way to compensate by seeing what they weren’t hearing. For individuals born with vision and hearing, it is natural to automatically become an auditory-visual communicator. This means that we combine what we hear with what we see in order to understand. But what happens when hearing loss enters the picture? People often find themselves depending more on visual cues – facial expressions, lip movement and body language. So, what was once old is new again! If you are interested in learning more about lipreading please contact our office for information.
Assistive Listening Device Consultations
Assistive listening devices, or ALDs, are devices that can help you hear or become alerted to sound. ALDs run the gamut, from personal amplifiers to smoke alarms with flashing lights. In addition, newer hearing aids and cochlear implants utilize Bluetooth technology to enhance the listening experience over the telephone and in adverse listening environments (e.g. background noise). Ask your audiologist about ALDs.
Providing education on issues related to hearing loss is part of our mission. Audiologists and graduate students are available to provide in-services in a variety of settings: retirement homes, schools, health-care settings, community centers and employment settings.