Aural rehabilitation is the process of helping someone effectively adjust to and manage his or her hearing loss. Methods of rehabilitation are focused on helping overcome the challenges caused by hearing loss, therefore improving the quality of day-to-day life. Adult rehabilitation strategies differ significantly from those used for children.
Adult rehabilitation may be offered in individual or group settings and generally encompasses these main points:
Adjusting to and learning about your specific type of hearing loss
Improving communication skills
How to use, care for, and make the most of your hearing aids
Exploring accessories for your hearing aids
The Different Parts of Aural Rehabilitation
Aural rehabilitation looks different for everyone. To find out what is right for you, talk to your hearing care provider.
1) Adjusting to and Learning About Your Specific Type of Hearing Loss
All hearing impairments aren’t the same, which is why it’s important to find out what caused yours, what characterizes your type of loss, and how it affects your functional hearing and communication abilities. This will not only help relieve frustrations when retraining your brain, it will also help you explain to your loved ones and friends what you go through.
2) Improving Communication Skills
Communicating involves more than just verbal skills; there are many pieces involved.
Retraining Your Brain
Your hearing aids allow you to hear sounds you may not have heard in a very long time. It takes time for your brain to get used to those sounds, and aural rehabilitation services offer you strategies to help with this.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
You can also learn to use visual cues. The adage “actions speak louder than words” is very true; the ways in which people augment verbal communication with their facial expressions and gestures help provide clues as to what they are saying.
Lipreading helps you understand what sounds look like when people say them. This is more than just being able to read lips — it’s about being able to differentiate words that have similar mouth movements but different meanings.
Finding Your Place
Communication skills can be improved by learning what environmental settings are best for you to socialize or work in, and how to effectively manage them.
3) How to Use and Make the Most of Your Hearing Aids
Your hearing aid was chosen by you and your provider because it offers the best features for you and your lifestyle. Understanding exactly what your technology is designed to do (and not to do) will help you get the most out of it. Using hearing technology doesn’t mean everything is fixed, so having realistic expectations about what to expect with your devices will help you adjust more successfully to them.
4) Exploring Accessories for Your Hearing Aids
With technological advancements in hearing aids also come an array of possible accessories! Assistive listening devices that connect to your phone, TV, and music players are just some of the integrative options to accompany your technology. Plan to discuss augmented technologies with your hearing health care provider.
There are two main kinds of support for those with hearing impairment. First, there are laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, which offers accommodations for people with hearing loss in the workplace and other places you frequent (hospitals, churches, and courtrooms). Second, support groups provide significant help in meeting the daily challenges associated with living with hearing loss. While friends and family can be supportive, there’s nothing like talking to someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Support groups can be found online or through your audiologist.