Once you have hearing aids, aural rehabilitation is a great way to accelerate your progress. Think of it as the final piece in the hearing puzzle. It’s a specialized type of training that’s designed to help reduce the effort needed to listen and understand when people are speaking to you. Basically, it teaches your brain to start hearing better again. When you haven’t heard the full range of sounds for a while, the parts of your brain that are used to processing those sounds atrophy, just like a muscle that becomes weaker when it hasn’t been used. Aural rehab exercises those parts of the brain to help you understand what you hear again. Here are some of the areas an aural rehab course may cover:
- Adjusting to hearing loss
- Learning how to best use your hearing aids
- Managing and participating in conversations in both quiet and noisy situations
- Recognizing the speech of a frequent communication partner
- Improving word memory and attention skills
- Understanding visual cues
- Speech/lip reading
- Using other assistive devices such as captioned telephone systems or hearing aid accessories
Aural rehabilitation can be both fun and effective. Many programs use games to develop your cognitive skills and enhance your ability to understand speech. Here are a few training programs that you can do at home:
- Angel Sound: A free, PC-based, self-paced, interactive auditory training and assessment program. It’s also available for the iPhone/iPad in the Apple App store: i-Angel Sound
- clEAR: A subscription-based program that includes online training exercises and professional coaching.
- LACE: A web application that allows you to train from any device with an internet connection.
- Posit Science’s BrainHQ: A program for enhancing brain function by improving accuracy and speed with a focus on auditory reception.
Once you complete an aural rehab program, you will enjoy many positive outcomes, such as better speech discrimination and reduced effort to recognize speech when you hear it. Even a few minutes a session can help improve your ability to understand. So what are you waiting for? Get started today!