August 28, 2012

Hearing Rehabilitation

Parker,-Molly-NEWBy Dr. Molly Parker
Parker Audiology, PC

It is possible to rehabilitate hearing loss through the use of appropriate amplification (including maintenance and adjustments over time), lots of encouragement and a little family understanding. Hearing loss is often a journey that begins with family members but ultimately ends with self-acceptance over what is and is not possible with one’s hearing abilities. Aural Rehabilitation can help the individual go through this journey more seamlessly. Rehabilitating hearing loss does not mean making an individual normal…but bringing “normal-ness” back into your life as much as possible.

Aural Rehabilitation is a set of planned meetings and instructions over time that educate the individual and family members about hearing loss, hearing instruments, maximizing residual hearing and using new communication strategies. Aural rehabilitation should begin at the very first meeting with your audiologist or hearing aid dispenser. It involves educating the patient and family about how hearing works and providing potential, workable solutions. Learning about your hearing ability is the goal, specifically what you CAN hear and what you may struggle with.

One example of aural rehabilitation is lipreading or speech reading. It used to be one component of aural rehabilitation. This has evolved into exercises that include lipreading, in addition to other exercises. These programs allow you to track your performance in various listening environments. Like with everything, some people have a talent for lipreading, whereas others struggle with getting by. However, research from these programs is suggesting that with practice, listening ability can improve. I believe that these programs give a measure of control to the individual and cause them to feel more proactive in their listening situations.

Ask your hearing healthcare provider if aural rehabilitation is something they incorporate into their meetings with you.

Dr. Molly Parker is an ASHA certified audiologist and the owner of Parker Audiology, P.C. located at 3601 N. Division Street, next door to Popcorn Charlies. Call for an appointment at (563) 326-5441.